Swedish furniture and home accessories giant IKEA plans to expand its stores in the region with a store likely to open in Muscat by the end of 2021 or early 2022.
Vinod Jayan, managing director of Al Futtaim IKEA, told the business magazine Arabian Business that the company is committed to bricks-and-mortar stores. “This includes pressing ahead with expansion plans, with a second store set to open in Abu Dhabi in November, and further stores opening in Cairo in March and Muscat, towards the end of 2021 or early 2022.”
IKEA is pursuing a policy of expansion of its physical stores although it has seen a significant increase in e-commerce activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both IKEA stores in Dubai were closed, from March 25 to April 25 as a result of the coronavirus-enforced lockdown measures, while the Abu Dhabi store on Yas Island opened only briefly during this time, in early April for a restricted number of hours.
However, the company continued to operate online with positive results.
“The e-commerce has steadily grown from, I would say, the middle of 2018. It was steadily growing and, just before the COVID-19 hit us, we were already on double-digit store share of the total sales of the UAE, from a digital perspective,” Jayan said.
“Then what happened, during the time when the stores were closed, is it went up by five or six times.”
He added that the growth in e-commerce is continuing, not exponentially but the company is still selling at about 70 per cent more than what it did before COVID-19. “At the same time, the stores are not being cannibalised,” he said. That he said, helps cement IKEA’s commitment to bricks-and-mortar stores.
IKEA has over the past year offered its customers in Oman the option of shopping online and getting their orders delivered in the sultanate. Delivery cost is AED100 for all areas in Oman, while assembly cost is AED250.