IKEA UAE, part of Al-Futtaim group today opened for business on Yas Island and anticipates nearly 1.3 million visitors in the first year of operations at the 33,000sqm flagship store, one of Middle East’s largest.
Omar Al-Futtaim, Vice-Chairman, Al-Futtaim Group, led the family-owned business house team in cutting the traditional log flown in especially from Sweden, signifying the official launch of the family destination store on the Island which has become synonymous for being leisure and entertainment hub of the UAE
Joining Mr Al-Futtaim was the Swedish Ambassador Magnus Schöldtz and Ahmed Al Sayegh, Chairman, Aldar Properties, among several distinguished guests and media, as anxious customers queued outside to step into the first globally recognised retailer to operate from Yas Island
“Today is a celebration of synergies between Al-Futtaim Group and IKEA and is a dream come true for all of us,” said Omar Al-Futtaim. “This is the day we celebrate a victory of vision and determination. Today we are given the chance to offer the UAE consumer a splendid range of IKEA products at reasonable prices. I stand here and commit to continued development and expansion of the relationship with IKEA in the future and I am proud my team has worked their magic to bring this day to light.”
“Like IKEA’s core principles, the Al-Futtaim group is fully committed to offering customers an unrivalled choice of the world’s best brands with exceptional standards of customer service.”
IKEA store on Yas Island will have 1,450 parking bays for its visitors who will be served by 35 cash tills at the back of a total sales area of 19,150sqm. The cash tills include refund/exchange desks and IKEA Food & Beverage counters. Alongside Market-Hall (6,000sqm) and Showroom Furniture (6,150sqm) areas, there will also be a 450-seat, 2,100sqm restaurant serving popular Swedish delicacies as well as its healthy and affordable breakfast and lunches.
Smaland, the lively fun-filled area for dedicated for children will be key feature of the IKEA Yas store and reflects IKEA’s vision of reaching out to its young customers.
Steve Hammett, President – Retail, Al-Futtaim Group, confirmed the IKEA Yas flagship store will be a strong impetus to push ahead with plans to expand into the region.
“The opening of this store is a great rejoicing. There is a heady feeling of accomplishment as this day represents a more significant and longer-term partnership between Al-Futtaim Group and IKEA who are on a new path for growth in the Middle East. We have firmed up plans to expand the IKEA brand in the region and as you may have already read and heard, IKEA is soon going to be part of the Cairo Festival City and Doha Festival City too.”
“This Yas Island store puts us at the forefront of the UAE’s retail sector and we hope to use that position to revolutionise the way business is done. UAE deserves the best service possible and by providing that service here, IKEA hopes to lead others into doing the same.”
The IKEA Yas store is bigger than the 25,400sqm store in Dubai Festival City and three times the size of Abu Dhabi Marina Mall store, which closed all operations last night.
Mile Franicevic, General Manager, IKEA – UAE, Qatar & Egypt said the full-fledged concept store has a depth of range which will give loyal IKEA fans immense pleasure.
“The IKEA brand has had a transforming influence on people’s lifestyles across the UAE and the world thanks to our wide range of genuinely low price products and home furnishing solutions. I truly believe this new store will provide further value to millions of IKEA consumers in the UAE and the Abu Dhabi community in particular.
“Our operations at Abu Dhabi Marina Mall have concluded as of last night and our hope is that this wonderful IKEA store on Yas Island will offer yet another wonderful shopping and leisure experience to around 1.3 million visitors which we expect during the first full year of operations. This is proof of the strength of the IKEA brand. And the intense loyalty of our customers who trust us, our designs, its functions and most of all, our prices ever since the first IKEA store opened in Dubai a little less than two decades ago.”
In addition to the Yas Marina Circuit, the host venue for the Formula 1 Etihad Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Island is also home to some world famous music and cultural events. Besides seven hotels including the signature Yas Hotel and Yas Marina, a super-yacht marina with capacity for over 140 yachts, the Island features Yas Links Golf, the first “Links” Golf Course in the Middle East and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the world’s first Ferrari theme park. In addition to the retail venues under development, further leisure, hospitality and residential elements are planned for Yas Island.