- Special Pages
BY MOHAMMAD SHOEB
DOHA: The Swedish furniture retailer, IKEA, is launching its Qatar store today with the official opening ceremony of its trademark blue box store at Doha Festival City, John Kersten, Managing Director IKEA – UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Oman, told a press conference yesterday.
This will be IKEA’s first store in Qatar and 341st worldwide. Spread over 33,000sqm, the store will offer over 7,500 home furnishing items, besides several other facilities such as restaurants.
Around 300 trained IKEA employees have been recruited to assist visitors in the “unique IKEA way of customer service”.
The company expects about 1.6 million visitors over the next 12 months.
“The IKEA store is a day out for the entire family. The store’s display areas give families plenty to talk and think about and the restaurant and children’s play area called Smaland can keep everyone content and entertained,” Kersten said.
Products will be available on bank loan (on the instalment payment basis) at zero percent interest. IKEA has signed a deal with Commercialbank for it.
The newest outlet is the largest in the region and first of its kind in the world, with the highest number of local adaptation.
Among the 40 local features, it has three separate majlises for male and female visitors.
This is the third IKEA store in the region, managed by Al Futtaim group.
The Al Futtaim group operates IKEA stores in the UAE at Dubai Festival City and Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. It plans to open a store in Egypt, at Cairo Festival City, as part of IKEA’s expansion strategy across the region.
Kersten highlighted the furniture giant’s unique concept and retail model and said IKEA’s cost-structure, pricing policy and iconic store platform are the three key ingredients of its global business model that benefits millions of customers through home furnishing solutions at the lowest possible price.
Details of IKEA products and solutions are available in a 330-page catalogue which reaches 211 million people in 41 countries every year.
About 150,000 copies of the catalogue, which is also available online, have been distributed for free to households across Qatar to help people draw inspiration and better prepare for their IKEA store visit.
“Almost 80 percent of Qatar’s residents have previously interacted with IKEA stores and products in other locations worldwide. This means that IKEA’s brand affinity and awareness is already present in Qatar,” said Kersten.
He believes that Qatar is an extremely robust and promising market for IKEA’s operations, expecting quick community endorsement of IKEA’s concept and innovative products to enhance their home living environments.
Present were James McGowan, Regional Brand Manager, Venessa Kaye, Country Marketing Manager, Georgios Kotsolios, Director Public Relations, and others.