Ikea buys shopping mall for £170m in west London

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Thur, 9th Jan 2020) London, Uk – –

Capitalising on bargain prices, Swedish chain thought to be looking for more city centre sites

Ikea has bought a shopping centre in west London for £170m and is understood to be looking for more malls in the UK as it makes the most of bargain prices in the crisis-hit retail property market.

Hammersmith’s Kings Mall, which opened in 1980 and has 40 shops including H&M, Primark, Sainsbury’s and Wilko, is the Swedish furniture chain’s first shopping centre in the UK and the first it has taken over. Ikea owns 44 malls worldwide but has built these itself, rather than buying up existing centres.

In October, Ikea said it had bumped up its property team in the UK with the aim of capitalising on the decreased valuations of many shopping centres prompted by numerous closures of high street chain stores.

The company is thought to be looking at further shopping sites across the UK as a way to get its hands on sites for its smaller, more accessible stores in city centre locations.

It is unlikely to face much competition for targets from institutional investors which are shying away from the retail sector in the face of the rapidly changing market and declining values.Quick guide

UK high street woes

The group’s shopping centre arm Ingka Centres owns a portfolio of 44 centres in 14 markets around the world including Russia and China, all of which are anchored by an Ikea store.

Gerard Groener, managing director of Ingka Centres, said: “Our urban projects are all about getting closer to more people. More of our customers are living in cities than ever before, and a regenerated Kings Mall will be an ideal location for reaching millions of Londoners.”

The retailer opened its first city centre site in the UK on central London’s Tottenham Court Road in 2018 and has since opened another in Bromley, south-east London.

Both those sites are “planning studios” which enable shoppers to get advice on kitchen and bathroom overhauls. The Hammersmith store, which will open in spring next year, will be different as it will stock more than 2,000 home furnishing accessories available to take away immediately.

The company said Swedish food, including its famous meatballs, will be on offer within Kings Mall as part of its plans to redevelop the centre.

Peter Jelkeby, country retail manager of Ikea UK & Ireland, said: “We continue to respond to people’s evolving shopping habits, making Ikea more convenient than ever before.”

By Sarah Butler