After years of rumours and false starts, it has been confirmed that Ikea is setting up shop in the Philippines.
The Swedish furniture company has chosen Manila’s SM’s Mall of Asia complex — one of the world’s biggest shopping centres — for the its flagship store, which is scheduled to open in 2020.
As we reported in March last year, the Swedish ambassador to the Philippines hinted that the store might be coming to the Philippines, but no further news was forthcoming.
Ikea has already started the process of hiring staff with an appeal on LinkedIn for a design manager, who will “play a crucial role in preparing, planning and executing [its] first Ikea store in the Philippines”.
SM Prime, the operator of the mall owned by Henry Sy — the richest person in the Philippines — will build the retail space for Ikea under an agreement signed earlier this year.
The flagship store will be operated by Ikano (Ikea Southeast Asia), the same organisation that operates the brand in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.
The SM Mall of Asia complex was chosen as the first location because it was already well established. “It’s already there and we have no chance to beat it,” Ikano managing director Christian Rojkjaer said.
“What happens in Malaysia and the Philippines is that we go in and we must create the best shopping destinations in that country either alone or with somebody else. So we do it shopping centre by shopping centre with the customer in mind,” he added.
Founded in Sweden in 1943, IKEA is now the world’s largest furniture retailer. Its name is an acronym standing for the name of company’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad; Elmtaryd, the farm where he grew up; and Agunnaryd, his hometown in Småland, southern Sweden.
Mr Kamprad, who died in January aged 91, was one of the 10 richest people in the world with a fortune estimated at more than $40 billion.