Ingka Centres, owner of shopping centres and part of the Ikea Group, wants to enter the American market. The real estate company is in talks to refurbish properties on central locations in major American cities.
"Very active search"
Ingka currently owns 45 shopping centres in Europe and Asia, and the company now has concrete plans to conquer the United States. CEO Gerard Groener told Reuters that various negotiations over urban real estate were in progress, notably in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.
The Swedes see many opportunities because of the coronavirus crisis, and have therefore begun a "very active search". The company is already in negotiations to purchase and renovate properties, such as former post offices, department stores and existing shopping centres.
As elsewhere, Ingka Centres wants to build mixed-use shopping centres in the United States, using them as "meeting places" that "have a wide range of facilities and services". According to Groener, in addition to retail, activities can range from health care and education to festivals and events. In China, for example, a project is under way to integrate residential spaces and adjoining offices, but progress has been delayed for several months due to the coronavirus crisis.
Four million square metres
Meanwhile, malls affected by the confinement imposed by the coronavirus scare are gradually beginning to reopen. In China, Groener sees a swift return of shoppers in most centres: in April, its malls in Beijing and Wuxi already welcomed 67 % and 81 % of the number of visitors in 2019.
At the beginning of this year, Ingka Centres bought its first shopping centre in London without an Ikea store. Usually, the company works the other way around: Ingka Centres normally builds a mall or shopping park around existing Ikea furniture stores. In August 2019, Ingka Centres had a total of four million square metres of leasable space, which welcomed 480 million people a year.