Dubai-based Al-Futtaim Group will open a new Ikea store in the UAE, as part of its offering at the upcoming Festival Plaza shopping mall (also known as Big Box Mall). The store is expected to open its doors to the public in mid-December 2019, subject to permits.

Festival Plaza is part of the larger Wasl Gate masterplan development in the Jebel Ali area. The retail centre will consist of a number of stores, including hardware store Ace and Lulu Hypermarket, similar to Al-Futtaim’s Dubai Festival City mall.

Ikea’s second store in Dubai will cater to residents in areas such as Discovery Gardens, Dubai Investment Park and Arabian Ranches, and will be the largest store in the UAE, spanning an area of 32,500 square metres. The Ikea UAE headquarters, currently located in the Festival City branch, will also be shifted to Jebel Ali.

Dubai-based Al-Futtaim Contracting (AFC) started construction work on the retail centre in early 2018. The contractor for the foundations of the project was Germany’s Bauer. The consultant is the local Brewer Smith Brewer Gulf. The cost consultant is the US’ Aecom.

The Al-Futtaim mall is one of the major components of the larger Wasl Gate development, which is being developed by the local Wasl on a 1.5 million square-metre site next to Energy metro station in the Jebel Ali area. In 2017, the local Al-Naboodah Construction started work on the infrastructure for the development.

Other Ikea locations in the UAE include a branch on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island; a concept store in Al-Ain where customers can browse through an online catalogue and purchase either online or in store; and its first Middle East distribution centre in Dubai South.

Vinod Jayan, managing director of Ikea for the UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Oman, said there are plans to open a store in Sharjah, with further details to follow in 2020.

Jayan also announced plans for an upcoming Ikea store in Oman in the first quarter of 2021 and a second store in Egypt towards the end of 2020.

The new Ikea store in Dubai will house a number of firsts for the Swedish retailer in the UAE, including digitalised options for furniture selection and an interior design studio to customise personal spaces. Ikea will also introduce an Ikea bakery, as well as an Ikea cafe within Festival Plaza. The trademark navigation tower located on the exterior will be the retailer’s tallest tower globally at a height of 70 metres.

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