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Ingka Centres sets up major store in Xi'an

By WANG ZHUOQIONG | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-23 09:32
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A visitor checks out home furnishing products at the IKEA booth during the sixth China International Import Expo in Shanghai in November. [Photo/China Daily]

Shopping business operator Ingka Centres, whose parent company is the same as that of multinational furnishings firm Ikea, launched its largest store in western China on Thursday, as part of its expansion into the Chinese market.

The Livat Xi'an in Shaanxi province, located in Yanta district, is the ninth shopping center for the group nationwide.

With a size of nearly 20 soccer pitches and total investment of 4.3 billion yuan ($593.6 million), it is the largest wholly foreign-owned commercial project in the province.

During launch day on Thursday, local residents crowded the place that featured a mix of brands from electric vehicles, toys, apparel, catering, cinema and gyms.

On the same day, Ikea launched its second store in Xi'an, the Ikea Yanta Store, in the Livat shopping center. The number of visitors to the center has exceeded 230,000.

Cindy Andersen, Ingka Centres' managing director who attended the opening ceremony, said that Livat Xi'an embodies its strong commitment to empowering communities across China, seamlessly blending work, life, leisure, dining and shopping in an accessible and sustainable manner.

"Livat Xi'an isn't just a destination. It's a celebration of the endless possibilities when people come together," said Andersen, citing the company's new Livat shopping center in Shanghai later this year.

Last year, Ingka Centres saw 121 percent growth in visits, and has almost 100 percent occupancy in its operations in China, she said.

"It means that the meeting place concept we are bringing is also relevant to people. We continue to see the same trend," Andersen said.

"On visitation, we are in double-digit growth this financial year. We have seen a decade of growth in the China market. This is a fantastic place where we will continue to develop and grow our business together with people and their communities."

Regional urban centers such as Xi'an, Changsha of Hunan province, and Chengdu of Sichuan province have become hot places for commercial real estate and retail brands to seek growth in recent years.

The Livat shopping center in Xi'an is also where Nordic style meets the rich heritage of the ancient capital.

"It's not enough to offer space. You need to offer relevance, and add value to people and communities," said Andersen.

As retail and physical commerce rebound, the "first store economy" has emerged as a new highlight in the consumer market in western China.

These first stores cater to personalized and diversified consumer needs with exclusivity and novelty, providing new momentum to energize urban commercial districts and unlock consumer potential.

Among nearly 400 brands at Livat Xi'an, there are 22 first stores in the Northwest, 20 in Xi'an and over 50 regional debuts, said the company.

More than 160 brands also debut in flagship and concept store formats, offering consumers a range of fresh store designs and diverse products and services.

Ingka Centres aims to leverage these first launches to create a scale effect, attracting more visitors to offline gatherings, and revitalizing the consumer market in Yanta district, Xi'an and the Northwest region, she said.

To offer a more integrated and convenient shopping experience, Livat and Ikea will continue to introduce the Livat and Ikea joint membership, allowing customers to enjoy dual membership benefits and participate in various activities, such as exclusive free parking and points redemption.

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