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Shaikh Khalid inaugurating the IKEA Bahrain store.

IKEA opens region's biggest store in Bahrain

MANAMA, September 4, 2018

Swedish home furnishing giant IKEA has joined hands with Saudi-based Ghassan Ahmed Al Sulaiman Furniture Trading Company to officially open doors to the group's largest store in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region offering more than 8,500 home furnishing products under one roof over a 37,000 sq m retail area.

Located in Salmabad area of the kingdom, the new IKEA Bahrain store was inaugurated by Shaikh Khalid Bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, the Deputy Prime Minister at a grand ceremony held under the patronage of HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister of Bahrain.

The impressive two-storey structure boasts a showroom, market hall and self-serve section. The facility will also include 50 room settings showcasing inspiring home furnishing solutions, a 650-seat restaurant and 1,200 parking spaces, of which 1,000 will be indoors.

Speaking at the launch, Ghassan Ahmed Al Sulaiman Furniture Trading Company CEO Saud Al Sulaiman said: "As is our motto - To create a better everyday life for the many people, IKEA Bahrain will have something for everyone, from home furnishing to food. With the opening of the store, people in the kingdom will now easily have access to affordable home furnishing solutions."

He pointed out that the store's USP was 'sustainability at low prices.' "All the products in the store are supported by price and product information that makes it easy for visitors to serve themselves. Customer involvement is how IKEA keeps its prices low," he explained.

The store will open to the public for the first time at 9am tomorrow (September 5). From Sundays to Wednesdays it will be open from 9am to 10pm and from Thursday to Saturday, it will be open from 9am to 1am.

Al Sulaiman said the rates of some of our products are such that more and more Bahrainis will flock to our store. "We have products for both our high-end clientele and the mid-income segment at our store. The idea is to offer well-functioning home furnishing products of good design at lower prices by using simple cost-cutting solutions without affecting the quality of the products," he noted.

"Good design is the right combination of form, function, quality, sustainability and a low price. The right balance is the unique challenge that keeps products innovative," remarked Al Sulaiman.

Since its inception in 1943, IKEA has successfully created affordable home-furnishing solutions for the many people, he stated.

"Our partnership with the brand began in 1983 and we have worked closely to expand into new markets. The kingdom’s business friendly nature and potential made the move to Bahrain an easy decision for us,” he added.

Al Sulaiman said as part of its long-term plans, IKEA will be launching its loyalty programmes at the Bahrain store as well. "We are hopeful of netting a record footfall at the Bahrain store over the coming months and see a repeat of our Saudi success story here as well." 

The extensive recruitment process for the store began in September 2017 during which IKEA visited several universities and institutes within the Kingdom. Following the recruitment, co-workers had to undergo rigorous training to prepare themselves for the official opening of the store, said Al Sulaiman.

“We have been working very closely with the Ministry of Labour and are happy to announce that we have provided 320 jobs to the local market. We are also very proud of our significant contribution to Bahrainisation, with 66 per cent of our co-workers being Bahrainis,” he added.

The IKEA Bahrain also boasts a 220-sq-m play facility, Smaland (named after the small town in Sweden where Ikea started), that will ensure that customers have an enjoyable shopping experience as children are taken care of by Ikea staff, free of charge.

The store will also include a market hall, where customers can find everything from rugs to linens, picture frames to clocks, kitchen accessories to home lighting and even unique gifts.

"Customers will find that everything in the store has price tags that also contain important information about size, colour, craftsmanship, measurements, features and care. Tags on large items will also tell customers where to pick them up in the self-serve furniture area," remarked Fatima Gustafson, the store manager.
 
Each area in the showroom will have a sales desk where specialists can answer questions or offer home furnishing advice, she stated.

IKEA Bahrain will offer customers a range of over 8,500 products providing home furnishing solutions; combining function, quality, design, value and sustainability.

Keeping in line with the brand’s sustainability mission, the design of the Bahrain store features transparent roof hatches, minimised glazed areas, skylights, and solvent-free paints, she explained.

"In addition, condensate recovery technologies will optimize water flow in lavatories to save 50 per cent of water consumed and an intelligent lighting control system will automatically control lighting levels to suit the outdoor environment," she added.

Other types of services available at the IKEA store include product pick-up, home delivery, assembly, planning, returns and exchanges and online sales support, she added.

A star attraction for families will be the restaurant that will serve a variety of hot and cold local and Swedish dishes.

The bistro and Swedish food market, which facilitates grab-and-go snacks and take-home meals respectively, will take up about 500 sq m of the total area. A key highlight is the menu which will include children’s specials and baby food, as well as a daily offering of organic and vegetarian dishes.

The inauguration was attended by over 200 guests including ministers and members of the Crown Prince’s office, His Excellency’s Office, Al Sulaiman Group members, business community leaders, partners and consultants.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Ikea | biggest store | Swedish furnishing giant |

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