Nov 2, 2016
The biggest Ikea store in the Gulf region will open in Bahrain in the second quarter of 2018, as revealed at the ground-breaking ceremony of the project.
The store, located in Salmabad, will have a total retail area of 37,000 sq m and an investment of BD47 million ($124.76 million). It will provide more than 600 jobs, said Saud Ghassan Al Sulaiman, the chief executive officer of Ikea Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
The store is being opened in partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Ghassan Ahmed Al Sulaiman Furniture Trading Company, Ikea Saudi Arabia.
The ground-breaking ceremony was attended by Shaikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Deputy Prime Minister, several ministers and dignitaries.
The construction work is already under way and the main contractor for the project is G P Zachariades.
“Since the start of the partnership between Ikea and Ghassan Ahmed Al Sulaiman Furniture Trading Company in 1983, we have strived to expand and grow this innovative brand into high potential markets. Bahrain has always been an attractive destination for investors and retailers due to its vibrant economy and favourable business environment,” said Al Sulaiman.
“Along with our belief in the long-term viability of the Bahraini market, what has encouraged us to make this investment is the strong bilateral relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Bahrain that enables a unique bond; it is a very special friendship that has strengthened over the years. Bahrain and Saudi Arabia share a common history, heritage and social bonds, so it comes as no surprise that we find new ventures to fortify that relationship further,” he said.
Ikea Bahrain store will house a 6,200-sq-m showroom, a 6,000-sq-m market hall for accessories, 5,000 sq m of self-serve area, and 4,000 sq m of full serve area.
It will also have a 2,500-sq-m restaurant, with around 800 seats, making it the biggest restaurant in the kingdom. Customers can take a break, enjoy Swedish delicacies or a local favourite at the restaurant, said Fruto Hernandez, expansion manager of Ikea.
The bistro and Swedish food market, which facilitates grab-and-go snacks and take-home meals respectively, will take up about 500 sq m of the total area.
The store’s 220-sq-m play facility, called Smaland (named after the small town in Sweden where Ikea started), will ensure that customers will have an enjoyable shopping experience as children are taken care of by Ikea staff, free of charge.
Ikea Bahrain will also have over 1,100 parking spaces spread over two levels.
“With all these facilities rolled out, we are expecting more than 1.2 million visitors a year to visit our store,” said Hernandez.
Currently, over 50 specialists such as project managers, interior designers, visual merchandisers, graphic designers, sales specialists are a part of the expansion, said Hernandez.
Ikea is the world’s largest retailer for furniture and is known the world over for its ready-to-assemble furniture and other home appliances. It has 385 stores spread over 48 countries.
The Ikea Concept focuses on offering a range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at competitive prices. Ikea offers over 9,500 products, all focused on being sustainably conscious.
Ikea Saudi Arabia has three stores in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhahran with a total area of 78,000 sq m employing over 1,300 workers in a diverse multicultural environment.