KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 20): Swedish furniture provider Ikea plans to open two more stores in Malaysia in the next three years, said Ikea Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand retail director Mike King yesterday.
“The Johor Bahru store will be ready in 2017, while the Penang one will be in 2018,” he said at the official opening of Ikea Cheras in Kuala Lumpur.
These will be its third and fourth stores in Malaysia.
Ikea managing director for Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand Christian Rojkjaer said the expansion plan is still preliminary and the site for the new store in Johor Bahru is still to be determined.
A possible location is in Tebrau, where a property developer disposed of a 36.94-acre tract in July 2007 to the Ikano Group RM64.4 million, or RM40 per square foot.
According to the website of architectural firm TJ Ong Architect, one of its projects is an Ikea store in Tebrau that is integrated with a shopping centre.
The proposed shopping centre revolves around F&B streets that straddle its frontage, with Ikea being the anchor tenant, together with a hypermarket, junior anchors and specialty shops.
Other projects under the architectural firm include Ikea Damansara and Ikano Power Centre in Mutiara Damansara, Ikea Cheras in Kuala Lumpur, as well as Ikea Tampines and Ikea Alexandra in Singapore.
In Penang, the store will be located within the RM8.4 billion Aspen Vision City in Batu Kawan. It is scheduled for completion in 2018.
Rojkjaer noted that Ikea Malaysia is open to the idea of setting up a manufacturing plant in Malaysia, if the sales volume makes it economic to do so.
“The more volume we have, the higher the possibility of having a factory here since transportation costs would be lower and it would be more sustainable,” he said.
The opening of Ikea Cheras was officiated by the Ambassador of Sweden to Malaysia Bengt G Carlsson, and attended by more than 800 guests. Queues for the event had begun to form as early as 5.30am for the special promotions in conjunction with the store’s opening.
At 42,000 sq m, Ikea Cheras is 20% bigger than Ikea Damansara. It houses 56 showrooms of over 8,500 products, 1,700 parking bays and a 780-seat restaurant.
It is located close to Kuala Lumpur city centre, and accessible via the Maju Expressway, among other highways. It is also connected to the Cochrane MRT station which is due to be completed in 2017.
Rojkjaer said Ikea Cheras marks a major milestone in the company’s long-term expansion plans across Southeast Asia, where there are now five Ikea stores.
“Malaysia, with its growing population and needs, remains an important market for Ikea and we will continue to look out for opportunities to grow our business here,” he added.
A version of this story first appeared in The Edge Property pullout, Nov 20, 2015. The Edge Property pullout appears every Friday with The Edge Financial Daily. Download it for free here.