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“It’s time not to lean back, but to lean forwards”


® Cindy Andersen: “One size does not fit all”

THE FOOD offer and community services will be at the heart of the ongoing evolution of Ingka Centres’ Meeting Places concept, according to managing director, Cindy Andersen.
The retail development arm of the group that includes furniture and homeware retail giant IKEA is working across markets and formats to expand its retail offer – and Andersen said that the key, in terms of future development, is that “One size does not fit all”.
Ingka Centres has recently confirmed its debut in India, is expanding in China and has developments in the US and Canada, including an upcoming mixed-use scheme in San Francisco where “the aim is to ensure that people have a reason to visit frequently”, Anderson said.
In London, the redevelopment of a mall in Hammersmith is due to welcome a new urban IKEA store early next year, while pop-up specialist Sook is also to open a space for temporary tenants in the scheme. Ingka’s urban mall project is a first and Andersen said that involving the community and providing everything from retail to a place to grab a coffee are the keys to the new approach.
“Food is super-important to what we are doing,” she said. “And because people are at the centre of our approach, what we are doing is going to evolve constantly, for the location or to include new services. Because after all, people are changing all the time. So each project won’t necessarily look the same.”
She stressed that the F&B offer would also help support Ingka’s desire to promote its sustainable agenda, with plant-based options and a focus on waste management among the initiatives.
India is one of the latest additions to the portfolio, with works on its first project due to start next year. The company’s newest Meeting Place, Livat Gurugram, is its first project on the sub-continent and represents a €400m investment in the IKEA-anchored mixed-use destination. At around 130,000 sq m, Livat Gurugram will mix hospitality, workspaces, learning spaces, spaces for festivals and exhibitions, as well as green areas and an omni-channel retail offer.
“We really believe in the physical experience and I am very optimistic,” Andersen said. “Despite all the challenges, this is not the time to lean back, but to lean forwards.”

 
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