STOCKHOLM, Nov 1 (Reuters) - IKEA's shopping malls business,
one of the world's biggest, said on Monday its tenants' sales
were up 16% at constant exchange rates in the 12 months through
August, to 6.6 billion euros ($7.6 billion).
Ingka Centres, which has 47 malls anchored by IKEA stores
across Europe, Russia and China and plans to enter North America
and India, said footfall was up 1% as visits fell 13% in Europe
due to lockdowns but increased in Russia and China.
The company opened two new centres towards the end of the
fiscal year, in China, taking its leasable area to above 4,000
million square metres.
Its occupancy rate was roughly stable at 94%, it said in an
In the previous fiscal year, footfall dropped by almost a
quarter and tenant sales fell 16% due to the pandemic and
restrictions and lockdowns to curb it.
Managing Director Cindy Andersen told Reuters that while
footfall remained below pre-pandemic levels, spending per
visitor was up from last year.
Like IKEA, Ingka Centres has tweaked its strategy in recent
years towards adding mainly smaller urban locations as it adapts
to changing shopping behaviour.
It is hunting for property in major European and North
American cities, and in 2020 inked its first such acquisitions,
in London and San Francisco.
Andersen said the pandemic had not affected investment plans
overall although expansion could be delayed.
"There could be certain delays but I would say the plans are
continuing, and we are also trying to accelerate all
developments in the pipeline," she said in an interview, adding
there was still a lot of uncertainty about market conditions in
the current fiscal year due to the pandemic.
While IKEA opened its first inner-city store in 2019, in
Paris, Ingka Centres is due to open its first such mall in the
coming months, in London.
Andersen told Reuters Ingka Centres' first opening in North
America was now planned for Toronto in 2022, followed by San
Francisco later in the year after a delay from 2021.
The company said H&M, Fast Retailing's
Uniqlo, Starbucks and Inditex' Zara were among
global brands adding stores in its malls during the year. In
all, around 1,000 stores opened.
Ingka Centres is part of Ingka Group, which owns most IKEA
stores worldwide. Its centres include the Mega brand in Russia
and Livat in China, where it has just inaugurated its 6th
centre, Livat Nanning.
Andersen said current global supply chain disruptions had so
far had little impact on Ingka Centres' ongoing construction
($1 = 0.8654 euros)
(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Jan Harvey, Kirsten