Ikea leaves door open for large-format store in Waterloo Region, but no plans in place

KITCHENER — As Ikea moves back into Waterloo Region with the announcement of a new appointment-based store in Kitchener, the company is not ruling out the potential for a bigger addition down the road.

However, no plans are in place for the creation of a large-format store at this point, a company spokesperson said Thursday.

“Large-format stores continue to be a vital part of the Ikea experience and we remain open to all possibilities for growth in the future,” said Ikea Canada public relations leader Lisa Huie.

The Swedish home furniture giant now operates 389 Ikea stores in 32 countries, including 14 in Canada.

While it has a strong presence in the Greater Toronto Area, Waterloo Region residents must drive about an hour to the nearest full-size location in Burlington.

The company sees “strong potential” in the region and is “committed to serve our local customers in the best possible way,” Huie said.

For now, she said, that means the appointment-based store and a pickup location at 259 Gage Ave. in Kitchener where customers can pick up orders. As for a large-format store down the road, she said, it’s too early to speculate on possible future expansion in the region.

On Wednesday, the company announced the opening this fall of a “plan and order” store in Fairway Plaza on Fairway Road. While it will have some home furnishings on display, there won’t be any products or food available that customers can buy.

The new location will be similar to the previous pickup-and-order location it had in the city. It was part of a global test program for the company to learn more about how its customers want to shop in new retail formats.

The Kitchener store was open for five years, but was one of five Ontario locations that closed in January 2020, along with stores in London, St. Catharines, Whitby and Windsor.

The new “plan and order” site in Kitchener will build upon the findings from that earlier experiment, and will focus on customers who want to design, order and buy big home furnishing systems — kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms and living rooms.

“Life at home has never been more important to Canadians and we see a growing demand for more personalized design and planning services in the region,” said Huie.

Last year, Ikea opened a new collection point location in Kitchener where customers who shop online can pick up their orders for a flat rate. Huie said this service will be a strong complement to the new Kitchener location.

“We are in a rapidly changing retail landscape and our current focus is on our transformation to meet our customers’ needs — amplifying our service offer, enhancing our digital offer, investing in customer fulfilment and our existing units and creating new ways to shop with Ikea,” said Huie.


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