IKEA downsizes, with ‘planning studio’ on tap for Long Beach – Daily News

on Nov5
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IKEA is known for its massive retail stores, but fans of the company’s ready-to-assemble furniture and home furnishings will soon be able to meet with design specialists in a much smaller space to plan their next home or office project.

IKEA said it will be opening two planning studios in Southern California — one 8,000-square-foot studio at 7611 Carson Blvd. in Long Beach Towne Center, and another at an undisclosed location. Both are scheduled to open in the spring 2022.

The studios are the first for IKEA on the West Coast. Others are already up and running in New York City.

The studios focus on providing inspiration and smart solutions for DIYers looking to upgrade a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom or home office. Customers will be able to book appointments and get free support from design specialists with planning and ordering IKEA’s home furnishings for their projects.

You won’t need a truck for all of those flat-packs either. IKEA will deliver everything from furniture, kitchen appliances and lighting, to desks, filing cabinets and room dividers — to your home or another drop-off point.

Javier Quinones, CEO and chief sustainability officer for IKEA’s U.S. operations, said the company is looking to strengthen its presence in Southern California.

“We’ve seen that customers are still eager for in-person experiences,” Quinones said in a statement. “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.”

Demand for furniture is strong. U.S. furniture store sales were estimated at nearly $66 billion in 2020. That’s expected to hit $68 billion this year, with furniture and bedding sales combined nearing $120 billion, according to data from Statistica.com.

Understanding consumer behavior

The concept for the planning studios was based on market research aimed at understanding consumers in terms of the logistical barriers they face, how they like to shop and how they live at home, the company said.

IKEA entered the Southern California market in 1990 with the opening of a store in Burbank. Additional locations opened in Carson and Covina in 1992, as well as a Costa Mesa store that was previously in Tustin.

The company has more California stores in San Diego, East Palo Alto, West Sacramento and Emeryville, as well as a distribution center in Lebec and a customer-fulfillment facility in American Canyon.

Janet McGowan, area vice president of IKEA’s U.S. operations, said the company identified geographic areas in the Southern California market that are beyond a 30-minute drive from existing IKEA stores and where affinity for the company’s products is high.

“By opening the two planning studios in the L.A. market, we are taking the first steps to creating customer meeting points that are more accessible and convenient,” she said.

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