Al Futtaim Group, the Ikea operator in the region, plans to open another store in Dubai in the next two years.
An Ikea official said that despite the challenging economic climate in the UAE, sales at the Swedish retailer had not been hit despite footfall at its stores in the emirates slowing between by 1 and 2 per cent so far this year.
However, its online offering doubled its sales last year compared with 2014 and its in-store restaurants have delivered huge growth.
“Even in 2008, when the financial crisis began, Ikea posted increasing sales,” said John Kersten, the managing director at Ikea for the UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Oman.
“Ikea does well in times of crisis. We know the retail climate is challenging as companies that we use are now offering deals that have not been available before.” He said Ikea sold three and half million plates of meatballs and 730,000 shawarmas in the UAE last year. “With those numbers we can keep prices very low,” Mr Kersten said.
The Swedish brand has posted double-digit growth in sales in its outlets across the UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Oman for the past four years.
Last year, the retailer also opened a customer ordering and collection point in Al Ain.
Yesterday Ikea said that it had chosen Abu Dhabi as one of three stores worldwide, including Canada and Sweden, to pilot a new store solution.
The “make a room for life” concept embraces the four walls of most people’s living spaces by offering a total design solution from floor to wall to ceiling and the soft furnishings in between.
The living room, a 2,500 square metre space at Ikea’s Yas Island store, is the first area to offer the experience, but the new concept will be rolled out across dining, bedroom and kitchens this year.
“We feel there was a lack of inspiration in Ikea. Everything has been created to inspire in the new concept.”
Mr Kersten added that the Arabic, Asian and European-styled concept rooms would cater to the different tastes of the population in the UAE.
“[Abu Dhabi] was chosen as a pilot store because we saw from our experience in Qatar that the Ikea concept needs to be tailored to the locale,” he said.
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