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Ikea to open third Singapore outlet at Jem in 2021

Jem - artists impression of Ikea signage.JPG
An artist's impression of the Ikea signage on the facade of Jem in Jurong East.

SWEDISH meatballs and home furnishings by Ikea are set to arrive in Singapore's western region, when the retailer opens an outlet at Jem shopping centre in 2021.

This will be its first small-store concept in South-east Asia, whereby the Swedish home goods giant becomes a tenant within a mall instead of establishing another of its iconic warehouse-format blue buildings.

The outlet at the Jurong East suburban mall will be spread across three floors and span some 6,500 square metres or almost 70,000 square feet (sq ft). It will be Ikea's third store in Singapore. 

The newest outlet will not have a playground or a built-in warehouse. Products will be organised within a single department, instead of being showcased separately according to each core area of the home.

Despite the smaller format, the full Ikea product range will still be available at Jem, which will also house the retailer's restaurant offering its popular Swedish meatballs, fried chicken wings and sustainable seafood.

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Jaap Doornbos, Ikea's retail director for Singapore and Vietnam, said: "This store will bring us closer to millions of customers." Outside South-east Asia, there are only a few other Ikea outlets with a similar small-store concept in the world, he added.

In Singapore, Ikea's two blue-box stores in Tampines and Alexandra attract close to seven million visits a year, said Sebastian Hylving, property and expansion director for Ikea South-east Asia and Mexico.

The Covid-19 situation has renewed interest in making life at home more comfortable, functional and sustainable, and Ikea offers such solutions at affordable prices, Mr Hylving noted. "We see a bright future ahead for our store at Jem," he added.

Mr Hylving has signed a contract for the tenancy with Jem's landlord, property and infrastructure group Lendlease.

Ng Hsueh Ling, Lendlease's Singapore managing director and Asia chief investment officer, said the company looks forward to bringing a "first-to-market lifestyle concept" to its shoppers.

"We are continually rejuvenating our tenancy mix and bringing new experiences to them," she added.

Ikea's announcement comes days after Robinsons Singapore said it will shutter its Jem outlet by the end of August this year. The department store operator occupies four floors totalling 85,000 sq ft within Jem.

Some of its employees will be transferred to the other Robinsons outlets and retail brands under its parent Al-Futtaim Group, such as Marks & Spencer, Zara and Massimo Dutti. The remaining staff will be given help to secure new employment within Jem.

Robinsons told The Business Times last week that competition from the rapid increase in the number of suburban malls had made having multiple large-scale department stores in Singapore unsustainable "well before" the coronavirus pandemic struck.

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