Swedish home furnishings giant IKEA, is opening doors to its first store in Oman today. The two-level store spans over 25,000 square metres and is located in Lulu Group’s Oman Avenues Mall. Offering over 9,000 products from categories such as living room, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and other home furnishings, the store will include inspirational room displays and provide customer experiences with diversified furnishing solutions.
IKEA has also expanded its digital footprint, allowing customers to view the entire product range online from the comfort of their homes. Additionally, the new IKEA store will also offer a wide range of services such as assembly and delivery, measurement facilities and kitchen services at affordable prices. Mr. Vinod Jayan, Managing Director of IKEA, in an interview with Times of Oman tells about IKEA Oman offering and its future plans.
How big is IKEA Oman? This is the first IKEA store opening in the Sultanate of Oman. The store is located in Lulu’s Oman Avenues Mall. The two-level store is spread across 25,000 square metre.
What are IKEA Oman’s key USPs? • Bringing customers affordability and a comfortable shopping experience, the new IKEA will be located in the centre of the city making it more accessible to the many people. • Oman’s first IKEA will also comprise a 394-seat restaurant, directly connected to the shopping centre for easy access and convenience. • Featuring self-service kiosks, the IKEA restaurant extends into the mall for more seating options for customers. • Customers can shop from the Swedish Food Market for their favourite Scandinavian ingredients. The food market is also accessible from the mall. • The in-store bakery will consist of some Swedish classics and other traditional baked goods such as rye bread, cinnamon bun, baguettes and croissants.
What is the IKEA Oman offering? At Al-Futtaim IKEA, we are providing affordable home furnishing solutions with over 9.000 articles across Living Room, Bedroom, Kitchen, Bathroom, and other home furnishing accessories in the store and locally relevant inspirational room setups We are also increasing our digital presence, bringing Al-Futtaim IKEA to where people are as opposed to always asking them to come to us. For customers from the neighbouring cities who are not able to visit the store physically, IKEA will be creating a Virtual Store with the same experience making it accessible to more of the many people As one of the world’s largest food providers, IKEA is taking the next step towards making healthy and sustainable food more affordable and accessible to many people. We hope to inspire better food choices at its Oman store, with a food and beverage range that includes IKEA’s popular plant-based meatballs, ASC-certified salmon, and UTZ-certified coffee, not to forget our ever famous Shawarma and Ice cream.
How is the store contributing to Oman’s green agenda? Al-Futtaim IKEA is one of the leading global brands within sustainability as a result of our commitment to the Al-Futtaim IKEA sustainability strategy: People and Planet Positive. Our aim is to inspire and enable more than 70 million people in the region to live a better everyday life by 2025. We are also aligning ourselves with Oman vision 2040 that focuses on creating a balanced sustainable environment with efficient systems. As such, we are contributing to Oman’s Green Agenda, saving the environment and reducing water consumption using sustainable solutions inside the store. These include: • EC motors that are 30% more efficient than Conventional Air conditioning • Condensate from all AC’s will be used for landscaping in the mall • All bulbs are LED, that reduces lighting consumption by 70-80 percent Furthermore, all IKEA products are crafted with sustainability in mind, inspiring and enabling more than 70 million people in the region to live a better everyday life by 2025. We pledge to design every product from the very beginning to be reused, refurbished, remanufactured, and eventually recycled by applying its circular product design principles during the product development process. We also recycle 90% of its dry operational waste annually on a global level.
What are the other services provided by the home furnishing retailer? We want to create a convenient shopping experience for our customers. The new IKEA store in Oman will also provide the Click and Collect service to enjoy a convenient and contactless shopping experience. The “Click & Collect” works in three simple steps. First, customers need to choose their preferred time and place for delivery. Secondly, they receive an email and an SMS once the order is ready and finally, they can have the order picked up from the store on the same or next day, without getting out of the car. Customers can access the “Click & Collect” service through the IKEA website and mobile app. This service is available for all online paid orders. Additionally, the new IKEA store will also offer a wide range of services such as assembly and delivery, measurement facilities, and kitchen services at affordable prices.
Can you tell us about the IKEA Homes of Oman magazine you created in collaboration with Omani real-life families? To celebrate IKEA’s arrival in Oman, we wanted to engage with customers to learn about their needs and help create a better, more inspiring and affordable home. This gave birth to the IKEA Homes of Oman makeover initiative. We worked with five selected real families of the Sultanate, to co-create the space in their home. Over the course of the last two months, IKEA Designers connected with them to learn about their needs and dreams to achieve the perfect result. We transformed their spaces to create a more sustainable and comfortable living making life at home in Oman feel more home-like.
What is the IKEA vision for the rest of the region? The IKEA vision - to create a better everyday life for the many people, is more relevant today than ever before. We offer a wide range of well-designed and functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them. This is, and will always be, the core strength of IKEA. Our Vision is to: 1. Be affordable to people who cannot afford IKEA today 2. Reach and interact with many more of the many people, wherever they are 3. Create a positive impact for people, society and the planet
IKEA has plans to create more job opportunities for Omani citizens in the coming years. Over 48,000 job applications were received to fill in various positions. How are you seeing this to drive the economy? As outlined in vision 2040, Oman’s private sector is a key contributor towards the country’s economic expansion and social development. The recent hiring of Omani nationals for this store is another step towards this vision. IKEA’s focus on Omani hires aligns with the country’s vision 2040 which aims to diversify and build a sustainable economy to enable growth; integrating roles and creating equal work opportunities for men and women. With a strong focus on equal employment, diversification and inclusion is at the heart of our corporate policy. For example, the first ever female fork-lift operator across our territories is hired for this store. By hiring the right mix of talent, we are opening doors to a wide range of ideas, skills, resources and energies, giving the business a competitive edge
What type of training does an IKEA co-worker undergo to be prepared for day to day challenges? Al-Futtaim IKEA uses multiple professional development platforms to contribute to the growth of its co-workers. For the opening, we spent 55,000 hours training the co-workers and preparing them to successfully face challenges on the floor. All co-workers can qualify for any of these programmes based on their assessment by their managers. At IKEA, every job and every day is different. It takes many roles such as Operations Manager, Interior designers, Visual Merchandisers, Food and Beverage Manager, Sales Leaders and Shopkeepers to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our co-workers are at the heart of our corporate well-being, and we are committed to their personal and professional development. Our aim is to provide a holistic working environment and experience to our co-workers in Oman
How many other stores are you looking to open in the next few years? Our focus right now is to ensure that the new store is fulfilling the customers highest expectations of service from our brand. As part of the expansion plan, IKEA will reach out to more of the many people by customizing its offering for each sub market as per the needs of the customer. This will not be limited to physical stores but we will also build our online presence.
How much investment was made to launch IKEA Oman? A huge investment goes behind opening a new store which also includes manpower, material and monetary value. This would not be possible if it wasn’t for our strong confidence in the local economy of the Sultanate, which continuously attracts tourists and expats alike.