IKEA Winnipeg – Here they come!
Sweden-based furniture chain Ikea is expected to announce today that it is planning to set up shop in Winnipeg.
A source, who asked not to be identified, confirmed Ikea is set to announce “something big” today involving a possible location for the store at Kenaston Boulevard and Sterling Lyon Parkway.
Rumours about the retail furnishings chain coming to the city have popped up a number of times in recent years. In late November, Ikea Canada said it was “looking at Winnipeg in a very serious manner”.
“We are taking a very serious look at the market and there is a specific piece of land we’re interested in,” spokeswoman Madeleine Lowenborg-Frick said at the time.
She could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Last month, she refused to identify the site and said there was “no immediate plan” for a store in Winnipeg. At the time, Premier Gary Doer confirmed the province had spoken with Ikea representatives.
Another source said approximately 20 City of Winnipeg employees are bound by non-disclosure agreements not to discuss Ikea’s plans for the city.
Rob Warren, executive director of the University of Manitoba’s Stu Clarke Centre for Entrepreneurship, said he was surprised to hear of today’s expected announcement.
“I don’t think this is the market for it, unless they have come up with another format style,” he said. “Those stores are huge and I just don’t know how this market is going to sustain it.”
Warren said Ikea stores in Canada appear to have annual sales of up to $153 million.
“I’d be absolutely amazed if you could do that in Winnipeg,” he said. “I would guess a large store in Winnipeg would be lucky to crack $100 million.”
A scaled-down store would be more likely to succeed, Warren said.
“But you’d have to scale it down a lot,” he said. “If you’re talking one of the full-scale ones, I don’t know how it’s going to survive. I just don’t.”
Fans of Ikea have been clamouring for a Winnipeg store for years. A group on the online social networking website Facebook called “Bring Ikea to Winnipeg” has more than 5,700 members.
Are you an IKEA Fan in Winnipeg? A member of the Facebook group, Bring IKEA to Winnipeg? We want to hear from you!
What are you most looking forward to? Grand opening? Lingonberries and meatballs? Smart, stylish furniture at affordable prices? Tell us!