Retail Giants IKEA, Century 21, Macy’s Embrace Streamlined Approaches 

In line with retailers like Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Century 21, Swedish furniture giant IKEA is also embracing a smaller and more streamlined approach. 

With 51 locations in the United States, IKEA has recently announced its ambitious plan to open 17 stores nationwide over the next three years. This expansion includes the establishment of eight full-fledged IKEA stores as well as nine Plan and Order points, where customers can explore and create personalized kitchen, bedroom or living room setups according to their preferences. 

“The U.S. is one of our most important markets, and we see endless opportunities to grow there and get closer to the many Americans with affordable products and services,” said Tolga Öncü, head of IKEA Retail, Ingka Group in April, when the company announced its $2.2 billion-plus investment in the U.S. 

See also: IKEA Investing $2.2 Billion to Expand Omnichannel Capabilities in US 

While IKEA has already revealed plans to open new stores in San Francisco, and Arlington, Virginia, during the summer, information on other store openings has not been disclosed. 

IKEA’s Treasure Hunt Experience  

IKEA offers an immersive shopping experience with its expansive warehouse stores, where customers can easily spend hours indulging in a treasure-hunting adventure. 

While customers may initially visit IKEA with a specific item in mind, it is likely they will leave with unexpected additional purchases. The allure of exploring the extensive store and stumbling upon delightful surprises is cherished by IKEA customers. However, a trip to IKEA can easily consume an afternoon. 

To tackle this concern, IKEA has introduced concept stores called Planning Studios, which aim to offer a more curated shopping experience and provide customers with an alternative approach to explore and experience IKEA’s offerings — catering to their evolving needs. Javier Quiñones, U.S. CEO and chief sustainability officer, explains, “We know U.S. customers have a strong desire for more ways to shop and experience IKEA, and this growth plan will allow us to meet that need.”  

IKEA is planning to introduce a number of smaller locations that will primarily specialize in merchandise for bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. Additionally, customers will have the opportunity to schedule complimentary appointments with design personnel, eliminating the need for aimless wandering or seeking the attention of busy sales staff. This strategic shift aims to provide customers with a more customized and immersive shopping experience. 

IKEA has two Planning Studio locations, one in Long Beach, California, and another in Arcadia, California. IKEA intends to open nine more in the near future. 

As IKEA aims to accommodate an ever-evolving retail landscape and further demonstrate the its commitment to optimizing the shopping journey, the retailer is looking to expand its services with 900 fresh pickup spots for customers to collect online orders. There are 16 pickup locations scattered across the country, encompassing regions from Southern California to Upstate New York. 

Century 21 Smaller and Leaner  

Century 21, the department store chain known for its deals on designer clothing, made a grand reopening Tuesday (May 16). This time, their focus was on showcasing a collection of midtier and high-end designer apparel, deliberately omitting budget items that are available at other off-price retailers. 

In line with its fresh approach, the retailer has made the decision to discontinue product categories like home décor and full-price makeup counters. This strategic move aims to streamline its offerings and place a stronger focus on providing a carefully curated collection of sought-after designer clothing. 

See also: Century 21 and Macy’s Embrace Inventory Lightness as Premium Label Stores Downsize 

Macy’s Heads to the Strip Mall

Meanwhile Macy’s has introduced two compact store formats, Bloomie’s and Market by Macy’s. These stores are about one-fifth the size of the conventional Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s locations. 

Bloomie’s provides shoppers with a distinctive experience, allowing them to leisurely peruse clothing racks while sipping on a glass of wine. The store also includes a dedicated section for pet accessories, complete with a water bowl for furry companions. 

Up to this point, Macy’s has successfully introduced 10 compact versions of its flagship Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores in strip centers. The company has plans to open an additional five stores within the current fiscal year. 

Macy’s off-mall stores strategy has yielded positive outcomes, surpassing the company’s overall sales performance. In the holiday quarter, Market by Macy’s and Bloomie’s reported increases of 8% and 12% respectively for stores that had been open for over a year, including licensed departments. 

See also: Macy’s Expands to Strip Malls With Smaller Stores and Leaner Inventory 

Market by Macy’s stores provide a curated assortment of products, concentrating on apparel, shoes, handbags, and beauty items from renowned brands like Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, and Ralph Lauren. They also feature Macy’s private label, including the women’s clothing line INC.  

Bloomie’s stores offer a selection of contemporary brands including Theory, Ramy Brook, AllSaints, and Bloomingdale’s own brand, Aqua. Additionally, customers can access services such as tailoring, personal styling, and assistance with online orders and returns at the concierge desk located in the shops.