The world’s largest Ikea opens in the Philippines after a delay caused by Covid-19, SE Asia News & Top Stories – Post World

MANILA (BLOOMBERG) – Ikea has opened its largest store in the world in the Philippines. The new 730,000 m² plant in Manila is a cornerstone of the furniture giant’s expansion plans in Asia.

The opening on Thursday (November 25) was celebrated with an event in the store’s cafeteria attended by Philippine Trade Minister Ramon Lopez and Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin. Some attendees were served the iconic Swedish meatballs from Ikea, and they were accompanied by a special Filipino flavor – Adobo sauce – for the big day.

Ikea is sticking to Covid-19 logs after store opening was delayed amid the pandemic, with an online booking system that’s full for the next two weeks, according to store manager Georg Platzer. Customers have to wear masks and keep their distance.

The Spread houses a two-story 270,000 square foot store, dining area, and showroom; Camp; an e-commerce facility; and a call center. It is located on land rented by SM Prime Holdings from Mall of Asia.

The opening comes as Ikea has expanded its e-commerce presence, which proved timely during the pandemic, with online orders now accounting for 26 percent of global sales.

The company, with more than 460 stationary stores in around 60 stores, plans to add almost 60 more locations in the current financial year.

It’s not just about Asia: The first step to South America will be made in the spring with a branch in Santiago, Chile.

Mr. Platzer said the Philippines “has been the right place on our map for the longest time”.

“It was always a plan to come to the Philippines,” he said. “It’s a very well growing economy, a growing middle class and a local environment that is good for us as furniture retailers. I think it’s time to finally open it up. “

Household spending fueled the recovery in the Philippine economy last quarter, with consumption expected to continue to rise in the fourth quarter as virus containment eases in time for the holidays. However, production is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until the second half of 2022.

The Manila store was originally scheduled to open in 2020 but has faced delays due to Covid-19 movement restrictions and the disruption of building materials supplies. It’s part of an expansion in Asia, with the brand recently opening its second store in India.

The Filipino debut comes despite Ikea predicting a more difficult year for 2022 due to logistics congestion and raw material price spikes due to the pandemic. Despite the shortage of supply and the challenges of keeping stores and stocks in stock, the company posted record sales last year.

Jon Abrahamsson Ring, Chief Executive Officer of Inter Ikea, the brand’s global franchisor, told Bloomberg in October that his vision was to make Ikea “even more affordable” by moving a larger proportion of new products to a lower price point.

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