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Retail Analyst Says Columbus is Ready for IKEA

Walker Evans Walker Evans Retail Analyst Says Columbus is Ready for IKEAPhoto provided by IKEA.
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IKEA is announcing today that Columbus will be getting its very own store in 2017, and local retail Analyst Chris Boring of Boulevard Strategies says that it is prime time for the Swedish company to expand into the Central Ohio market.

“With just under two million residents, Columbus is the nation’s 32nd largest MSA, and IKEA already has 38 stores in the United States,” says Boring. “Also, IKEA targets Millennials in their twenties and thirties and younger Gen-Xers in their early forties. These age cohorts comprise 29.5% of Central Ohio’s population compared to 27% of the overall U.S. population, so this is a great IKEA market.”

IKEA is generally known as a regional destination, drawing customers who will drive from two to three hours away for a dedicated shopping trip. With existing stores in the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Detroit markets, and possible plans to add another in Cleveland, concerns of oversaturation have arisen. Boring doesn’t foresee this as being an issue.

“Each of those are completely different markets, with its own local media, pro sports teams, and cultural identity and history — and each has enough households to support an IKEA,” he says. “But each market does have different economic conditions, demographic profiles, and competition levels.”

As far as local competition goes, smaller independent stores likely have less to worry about than similar big-box chains.

“IKEA is the king-daddy of big box stores,” says Boring. “At 354,000 square feet, it will be the same size as all of Lennox Town Center, including Target, the AMC Theater and all of the outlot restaurants combined all under one roof. As such, it will compete with other superstores such as Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowe’s as well as home décor and furniture chains such as Ashley Furniture, Value City, Pier1 Imports and Front Room Furnishings.”

If there’s one main criticism Boring has about the IKEA announcement, it’s in regard to the location.

“The Polaris area is already one of the most traffic-congested areas of Central Ohio and the new IKEA with 1200 parking spaces will add more traffic,” he says. “This area is badly in need of more infrastructure and more long-range planning.”

For ongoing discussion on IKEA in Columbus, CLICK HERE to visit our Messageboard.


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