Retail

IKEA Australia rolls out first small-format store, but shoppers won’t be able to take their purchases home

Dominic Powell /

Despite being known for its massive, maze-like stores, furniture and home-goods giant IKEA has taken the wraps off its first-ever small-format store, which it plans to launch in Warringah Westfield next month.

The new stores will be as small as 100 square-metres and contain none of the aisles upon aisles of endless sofas, bookshelves and bedframes you’d find at a standard IKEA. Instead, the newly dubbed “Home Planning Studios” will be aimed at helping homeowners plan out their kitchens, lounge rooms and bathrooms.

The shoppers can then place orders for items to be either home delivered or picked up, with IKEA Australia chief executive Jan Gardberg telling news.com.au the new small-format stores are able to be rolled out thanks to the company finalising its new fulfilment and distribution network.

“That was the key cornerstone we needed to get in place before we started to launch these different formats,” Gardberg said.

The chief executive says he could see anywhere from five to eight of the stores launched across the country, depending on the outcome of the four-month trial in Sydney.

“Customers will be able to order any part of the range we have online, but the starting point now is giving extra focus to bedroom and kitchen, because we know these are the places where customers want to buy a total solution, not just a single product,” he said.

“It could be you don’t decide there but walk away with some ideas, a plan, maybe some drawings and a price estimate. Then it’s up to you if you want to make the purchase in the store or just want to place the order.”

However, for customers fanging for a flatpack, the company has indicated it may experiment with larger stores between 5000-12,000 square-metres to provide shoppers with “instant gratification”, though Gardberg noted they were still in development.

“Our (big) stores will continue to play a major role in this, but we realise sometimes you only have 30 minutes to spare,” he told news.com.au.

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Dominic Powell

Dominic is the former features and profiles editor at SmartCompany.