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Ikea bringing new retail concept to the West Coast

Ikea opened its first U.S. “planning studio” location in 2019, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Ikea is continuing its push to be more accessible to customers by opening new store formats in city centers.

The Swedish furniture giant plans to open two “planning studios” in the Los Angeles area in 2022, including an 8,000-sq.-ft. location at Long Beach Towne Center Long Beach, (The second location will be announced soon.) The spaces will focus on providing inspiration and smart home solutions for city living.

Ikea debuted the concept in the United States in 2019, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The three-level, 17,350-sq.-ft. store provides personalized design services. There is no need for shopping bags as everything must be ordered online, either in-store or at home. (The other planning studios are located outside of the United States in locations that include London, Stockholm and Warsaw.)

The West Coast planning studios will offer customers the chance to book appointments and get support from design specialists with planning and ordering home furnishing solutions that require a bit more help, such as kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms. Similar to the Manhattan outpost, no products will be available to take home. Instead, customers can order items for delivery to their home or another location.

"Ikea is transforming to better meet the needs of our customers, and we are excited to strengthen our presence in Los Angeles and be where people are – whenever and however they want to meet Ikea," said Javier Quiñones, CEO & chief sustainability officer, Ikea U.S. "We've seen that customers are still eager for in-person experiences. That's why we're investing heavily in brick-and-mortar locations, and newer, more accessible store formats like the two L.A. planning studios – in addition to e-commerce."

Ikea has been in the L.A. market since the opening of it store in Burbank in 1990. It also has stores in Carson, Costa Mesa and Covina.

"Understanding that many L.A.-area residents are often frustrated by being stuck in traffic, we identified geographic areas in the market that are beyond a 30-minute drive from existing stores and where affinity to Ikea is extremely high," said Janet McGowan, area VP, Ikea U.S. "By opening the two planning studios in the L.A. market, we are taking the first steps to create customer meeting points that are more accessible and convenient to the many people of the L.A. market while continuing to offer smart and affordable home solutions."

In addition to the planning studio concept, Ikea is also opening more traditional stores — but with a smaller footprint — in city centers. It unveiled its first U.S. smaller-store concept in January, at Rego Center shopping mall in Queens, New York. The 115,000-sq.-ft. store is about half the size of an average Ikea and offers thousands of items that customers can purchase on-site and take home. The larger furniture items on display can be ordered for home delivery.

Ingka Group, a strategic partner in the Ikea franchise system, operates 389 Ikea stores in 32 countries, including 52 locations in the United States.

[Read More: Ikea buys iconic Topshop flagship store in London]

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