The world’s largest IKEA opens in the Philippines

The biggest kid on the block – IKEA Pasay City – pushes past challenges to firmly cement its place in Metro Manila.

A slew of pandemic-related challenges, availability and global supply issues could not stop us from delivering on our ambition of opening the world’s largest IKEA in the Philippines. “There hasn’t been one thing that has been difficult for you,” said Ikano Retail Manager & CEO, Christian Roejkjaer, in his recorded welcome message to co-workers in the Philippines. “Everything has been just a little bit more difficult due to the very extraordinary circumstances that we’re opening in.”

The hiccups are now mere distant memories as more than 500 cheering co-workers, drumbeaters, partners, FAMNIG heart and BJORN the bear mascots, threw open the doors to IKEA Pasay City, welcoming throngs of Filipinos to the country’s first IKEA store on 25 November.

A Filipino-Swedish fiesta

In true Filipino fashion and passion, we welcomed guests with a Swedish Breakfast by the team of half-Filipino-half-Swedish chef, Josh Boutwood. The day’s events were livestreamed to 98,522 viewers including Filipinos, our Ikano Retail family in Southeast Asia, Mexico, and the rest of the world. The revelry, which began at 10am, featured dancers and live local music, with key partners from the Swedish Embassy, SM Supermalls, and the Pasay City mayor in attendance to deliver their well-wishes.

66,000 sqm

store size including supersized warehouse and customer call-centre for ecommerce

Philippines Retail Manager Jaap Doornbos shared why and how we decided to open a store in the Mall of Asia Complex: “We wanted to be in the biggest and best retail destination of the country, and it was not difficult to find because if you take a plane, look out the window, see the globe below you, then you know that is the place to be.”

Our commitment to sustainability

To close off the opening ceremony, IKEA Pasay City Store Manager Georg Platzer, together with our guests of honour, watered plants to commemorate our donation of 600 seedlings (one for every co-worker) to Pasay City. The store is also opening with a fully-functional Circular Hub and sewing services from our social enterprise partner, Rags2Riches.

Safe shopping for the many

Thanks to months of inclusive marketing campaigns, social days, Life At Home research and home visits, IKEA Pasay City has garnered a strong and passioned following. Already on Test Day on 20 November, we served over 4,000 customers made up of media friends, families and partners, with more than EUR 156,000 in total sales.

EUR 725,040

total sales on opening day

To manage the high anticipation to shop at IKEA in the first month, we launched a well-received social campaign promote a “No Booking, No Shopping” policy. This system enables efficient crowd management and safe distancing between the store’s opening of 10am and 8.30pm.

The IKEA experience

The store’s first customers, Kaye and Donna – self-professed IKEA fans – said visiting an IKEA is part of their itinerary every time they travel. Kaye said: “The wait was worth it! We got up and prepared really early for this. It’s so great that IKEA has finally opened here and can cater to the Filipino people.”

The finish line but also the beginning

In his opening speech, Georg articulated what many of the co-workers were feeling: “Despite all the challenges, we did it. All thanks to thousands of hardworking people at the construction site, and our team of more than 500 co-workers – fantastic, agile, enthusiastic co-workers – with a superb spirit of Togetherness that I have never seen before. Every one of them has worked tirelessly to make sure the store was ready to greet customers when the clock strikes 10am.”

The entire Pasay City team would like to thank the many who have helped us reach this huge milestone. Opening the biggest store in a middle of a global health crisis is indeed full of surprises, but as Ingvar Kamprad said, “A crisis brings out the best in us.”

Glorious Future, Together!
Tack and Salamat!