Swedish furniture and home accessories retailer Ikea will begin online sales in Mexico in the fall but it is unclear when the company’s first bricks and mortar store will open.
Malcolm Pruys, Ikea’s CEO in Mexico, told the news website Expansión that the company is going ahead with its plan to begin e-commerce sales in the fall but the opening of the first store in Mexico City could be delayed.
Pruys said last May that the company planned to open the store near the Benito Juárez International Airport in October of 2020. However, the CEO says now that he can’t say when the long-awaited store will open.
“If I gave you a date, I’d be lying,” Pruys said.
He said that the company is doing all it can to stick to the plan to open in October but added: “I can’t say that we won’t be delayed.”
Construction has been halted due to the coronavirus pandemic but Pruys said that hasn’t overly upset Ikea’s expansion into Mexico because the company always considers different eventualities in its plans.
He explained that the company’s 110-strong workforce is still working despite the coronavirus crisis, although they’re no longer in the office but in their homes.
Pruys said that he was aware that Ikea will arrive in the Mexican market at a time when the retail industry will be forced to make adjustments in order to operate in a Covid-safe economy.
However, the company has experiences in other countries that will help it in Mexico and has already developed protocols for contact-free home deliveries, he said.
Given that disposable income will fall for a lot of people as a result of the coronavirus-induced economic crisis, purchasing new furniture and other home accessories will likely not be a priority for many.
However, Pruys said that the coronavirus lockdown may have changed people’s relationship with their homes, so there will be an opportunity for Ikea to speak to them about how they can make improvements to their living spaces.
“A lot of people would have spent a lot more time at home and when you spend a lot of time at home you see it quite differently,” he said.
“I wonder if everything I have makes me happy, if I’m well organized, if I have a good couch, if I’m comfortable and relaxed. … There is a great opportunity for us to speak to people about how we can help them with this and how we can improve their homes,” Pruys said.
He added that Mexicans’ confidence in buying online appears to have increased as a result of the pandemic and stay-at-home orders.
“What I see most in the streets at the moment are the vehicles of companies like Mercado Libre and Amazon.”
Ikea is investing approximately US $500 million in Mexico to build its new store, an e-commerce warehouse and a production plant. The company’s retail project leader in Mexico said last year that the store will employ between 300 and 350 people.
Pruys has said previously that Ikea is planning to open more stores in other Mexican cities but didn’t specify when or where.
Source: Expansión (sp)