UK capital London is to become the first site for an urban retail, IKEA-anchored scheme after Ingka Centres acquired Kings Mall in west London in January last year. The project is just one of a number of urban retail concept initiatives Ingka has been running globally, aimed at increasing the retail and food & beverage offers at its shopping centres and retail spaces, while leveraging the international appeal of the IKEA brand.
“We are moving into urban locations to create new IKEA-anchored, mixed-use ‘Meeting Places’ that go far beyond shopping,” recalls Ekaterina Kirichenko, concept & customer experience developer, Ingka Centres. “They will be positive for people and the planet, with individual offerings based on the needs and aspirations of local communities.”
She says that the company sees its social role as being a “good neighbour”, which provides infrastructure, safety and social significance at its urban retail properties. “Overall, we are responding to global urbanisation and social-demographic trends,” she adds.
“Consumer behaviour is changing and has been accelerated by the pandemic, with a new focus on technology and sustainability. People are travelling less, preferring to spend more time in their neighbourhoods, and, as a result, are seeking community hubs and groups to belong to.”
She says that Ingka Centres chose London for the first such urban retail project because the company views it as a “very dynamic, multinational city, where IKEA has a place in many peoples’ hearts.” Kirichenko adds of the urban retail development: “We believe in the market there and strongly believe we can grow in the city.”
While Kings Mall will remain an urban retail-led destination, anchored by an IKEA retail space, it will go beyond being a shopping centre, offering cafes, entertainment, daily services and community areas built around convenience, socialising, and experiences within this new urban retail development.
“The people of Hammersmith know their community better than anyone, so we are asking what they would like to see, ensuring we can create the best possible Meeting Place for them,” says Kirichenko of the urban retail concept. “We are in particular speaking to local businesses and entrepreneurs, who are especially sensitive to the current economic climate. We’ll prioritise local businesses and concepts such as F&B and other everyday services. Our social mission is to support local communities and bring value to them. Our location next to a city square, office buildings and residential apartments above the shopping centre and the 125-year-old Lyric Theatre in the same building, means we have a great opportunity to bring all these together to create a truly unique local destination for Londoners to meet, eat, shop and spend time together. We also are looking for opportunities to deliver the best possible customer experience and relevant offer that can be accessed digitally as well as physically.”
Sustainability is also a key focus for Ingka Centres globally and will also be prioritised at the Kings Mall urban retail development.
“We will be incorporating sustainability with innovative and smart design, collaboration with our partners and co-creation with the local community,” she says. “We will focus on encouraging healthy lifestyles, wellbeing and circular services. We believe these actions will help make sustainable lifestyles more accessible and an easier choice for our customers in London, having a positive impact on their lives and supporting successful business.”
Ekaterina Kirichenko joined Edouard Dequeker, Essec Business School; Joan Busquets, GSD – Harvard University; Ricardo Veludo, Lisbon City Hall; Joao Cepeda, Time Out Market; and Synnove Lyssand Sandberg, Oslo Utvikling, to discuss Reshaping Urban Landscapes to be Fit for the Future at 14.30 CET on 18 November at MAPIC 2020 digital.