The world’s largest shopping malls business, IKEA has begun the sales process for around 500 flats in Changsha in southern China. IKEA is experimenting with a new strategy with its first-ever mixed-use residential and retail development plan.
Ingka Centres has 45 “meeting places” as the malls are called, following a strategy tweak done a few years ago, anchored by furniture stores of IKEA across Russia, China, and Europe. In China, they are anchored under the brand name Livat.
The company has shifted focus towards providing more social spaces and entertainment in its developments. In a bid to attract consumers in China who visit malls for dining out or for watching movies.
With its foray into housing, the company is testing yet another strategy to increase its income. Livat Changsha’s residential buildings have common work and living spaces that are designed and decorated with co-operation from IKEA. The company hopes that these buildings will appeal to people who are working from home.
The managing director at Ingka Centres, Cindy Andersen, said that she expects flat buyers to begin moving- in from March 2022 onwards.
The Livat Changsha mall, which is Ingka Centres’ fifth mall in China, had almost a 95per cent occupancy in July. The mall spaces were taken up quickly by restaurants, sports shops, and entertainment outlets. There are around 350 retailers occupying rental spaces across 130,000 square metres, including big brands like Decathlon and Uniqlo.
Ingka Centres successfully added nearly 50 international retail brands to its quickly growing portfolio in China in just the past 12 months. In order to attract more customers, Ingka Centres is experimenting with various digital services and omnichannel models at its malls. They are trying to liven up the malls with snazzy local e-commerce platforms and live shopping events.
At Livat Changsha – investments over 4 billion yuan (US$616.8 million), will focus initially on a loyalty scheme app. This app will be connected to WeChat, the Chinese social media app. Consumers can avail online restaurant queuing, sporting services such as virtual reality center navigation, and cinema ticket purchases.