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Ikea operator Ikano Retail records mixed success in Asia, despite Covid

Singapore proved a standout market for Ikea franchisor Ikano Retail last year, as the Covid pandemic disrupted trading hours across all four of its markets. 

Sales at the three Ikea Singapore stores – including the Jurong location opened in April – reached US$274 million in the year to August 31, an increase of 21.2 per cent year on year. 

Across the causeway, the Malaysian business did not fare quite as well, with sales down 13.9 per cent year on year to $302 million. 

In Thailand, Ikano Retail reported sales of $248 million, down 3.3 per cent.  

The different performances largely reflected government trading restrictions: Stores were closed an average of 83 days in Malaysia, 51 days in Thailand but just two weeks at the Singapore Jurong outlet. 

Ikano Retail also owns the Ikea franchise business in Mexico and is set to open the first store in the Philippines – set to be the largest Ikea in the world – construction of which has been delayed by Covid. The company is also planning a foray into Vietnam. 

Groupwide, Ikano Retail achieved sales of $1.19 billion, up 3.3 per cent on year. 

“We lost 17 per cent of our trading days, faced the worst supply challenges in our history and contended with limits on food operations and further restrictions,’’ said Ikano Retail CEO Christian Rojkjaer. “But, even amid Covid, we executed expansion plans, grew our e-commerce sales by 57 per cent and safeguarded jobs.”

Ikano operates 11 Ikea stores and five Ikea-anchored shopping centres as one of 12 Ikea franchisees around the world.

The company invested in its Ikano shopping centres in Malaysia and Thailand during the year, and actively supported its tenants through the tough times. Its lease rate was 92 per cent in which Rojkjaer described as “a challenging retail landscape”. 

“We made sure that our centres continue to be meeting places for the many,” offering a safe and fun day out as our economies open up and learn to live with Covid.”

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