- Ikea is embarking on a $2 billion expansion of its US operations.
- Part of Ikea’s strategy is a new, smaller store for shoppers redesigning whole rooms.
- I visited one of these new stores to see what it’s like to shop there.
Ikea is spending billions to expand in the US, and a big part of its plans rest on small stores.
Most shoppers probably think of huge warehouses filled with everything from kitchen towels to coffee tables to Swedish meatballs when they think of the retailer. But in a $2 billion initiative it announced earlier this year, Ikea said that it would open nine “plan-and-order” stores in the US.
Each store is a fraction of the size of the Ikea you’re probably used to. While an Ikea warehouse can take up around 350,000 square feet, plan-and-order stores are a tiny fraction of that. The store I visited for this article, located in Arlington, Virginia, is about 5,000 square feet.
The plan-and-order stores are designed around model kitchens, bedrooms, and other complete packages of appliances and decor that shoppers can buy for rooms in their homes. It’s a bit like walking through one of their famous catalogs. There aren’t any cafeterias serving cheap lunches or extensive selections of picture frames, as you’d find at a conventional Ikea warehouse.
Instead, if you see something you like, you’ll have to order it for delivery. Ikea calls the stores “showrooms” and staffs them with employees it says can answer questions or even plan a remodel.
I wanted to see what these mini-Ikea stores are like, so I headed to Arlington.
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