Ikea successfully exports its ever-so Swedish flat-packed finery around the world but its retail model will need to be flexible to make its latest landgrab a success. The furniture firm already has 427 shops in 52 countries but three new sites slated to open in Mexico present a space-saving challenge (see below). Ikea’s existing model involves lots of walking: customers pass through styled-up salons and pluck products from an adjoining warehouse full to the brim of flat-packed furniture. Therefore its shops are usually found on the outskirts of cities.
To make the most of Mexico City’s metropolitan sprawl, however, Ikea should stay central on a smaller site that’s accessible to more of the 21 million people who live in the city and the surrounding area. Last year’s foray into India shows that the firm can adapt its products, produce and prices to new markets: the Hyderabad outlet does a mean biriyani as well as the mandatory meatballs. But this summer’s Mexican adventure will require a fundamental rethink.
Ikea is also expected to open a city-centre shop in Paris in early May. If the firm cracks urban selling in smaller shops, space-saving might once again be its biggest sell.