Exactly 20 years after the opening of the first IKEA in Thessaloniki, the Fourlis group opened the 7th branch of the Swedish chain of home equipment and furniture on Greek territory (the 11th if the points of sale in Cyprus and Bulgaria are included), officially entering the new era of omnichannel growth, which is a strategy of the parent company since the end of 2018, aiming to respond more effectively to the changing needs of consumers.

Read also: IKEA in all sizes – V. Fourlis’ investment plan

Investment of 3 million euros

Without following the Swedish custom of cutting down a tree trunk, as had happened at the opening of all previous stores, as it does not fit into the ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) era, but with the established Swedish breakfast for IKEA official guests, in the restaurant of the store, the new IKEA store “new generation” in The Mall Athens opened its gates in the presence of the Minister of Development and Investment Mr. Adonis Georgiadis. The minister, in fact, speaking as merchant to merchant, expressed his confidence in Mr. Vassilis Fourlis that “the new store will go very well” and “will cause quite a stir”.

The investment for the store on the 4th floor of The Mall Athens, with a total area of ​​1,900 sq.m., amounted to 3 million euros.

Shopping through apps and the “free” route

In the “new generation” store, customers have the opportunity to freely follow any route they want, so that they can be served quickly and easily according to their needs. They can use their phone to scan for items as they browse the store.

Consumers can immediately buy accessories and smaller furniture from a range of 1,300 ready-made products, which are transported in a blue IKEA bag. It should be noted that a total of 8,000 product codes are distributed in IKEA stores.

Thus, for the larger furniture, they can place their order for home delivery or for free collection from the IKEA stores at the Airport and Kifissos. They can even browse the internet to see all the details about the products.

IKEA e-sales of 80 million euros

The combination of physical and online stores has been an important tool for the last two years and will remain as a strong operating model in all brands of the Fourlis group. As Mr. Fourlis said before the pandemic, IKEA digital sales accounted for 10% of the group’s turnover, while now they reach 20% of the total turnover. This year e-commerce sales will amount to about 80 million euros out of the total 400 million euros which is the total turnover of the chain.

Product shortages and price increases from 2022

However, entering the new era, with main trends in digitalization and the green economy, is not easy. At least in the short term.

The disruptions in the supply chain lately, have created product shortages, which according to Mr. Fourlis correspond to 13% -14% of the total products available to IKEA. In fact, the shortages in the Intersport sportswear chain are at the same rate. However, as Mr. Fourlis mentioned, the problem with the shortages is expected to be normalized after the end of the first half of 2022.

At the same time, from 2022, the first price increases will appear on the shelves of stores, as processes for the adjustment of the price list are currently underway.

New stores in Elliniko, Heraklion and Patras

As part of the plan to open new generation IKEA stores, at the beginning of 2023, two new medium-sized stores are expected to operate, ie from 8,000-12,000 sq.m., which will be created in Heraklion and Patras. Also in the group’s plan is the creation of a larger store in Elliniko, where the company Trade Estates, the group AEEAP, in collaboration with Lamda Development, will develop Retail Park, which is estimated to open in 2025.

Today, there are a total of 11 IKEA stores, seven of them in Greece, one in Cyprus, and three in Bulgaria. There are also 9 Pick-up-Point points for IKEA products.

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