Ikea to make announcement in Halifax
Ikea Canada president Stefan Sjostrand and Halifax Mayor Mike Savage to be on hand
Swedish furniture and home goods giant Ikea plans to hold a news conference on Friday in Halifax.
The president of Ikea Canada, Stefan Sjostrand, and Halifax Mayor Mike Savage will be at the news conference at St. Mary's Boat Club.
A news release said the pair will make an important media announcement.
An Ikea spokeswoman told CBC News Wednesday that the company will not release further details until the announcement.
The mayor's office said Savage will not be commenting on the announcement before Friday, and that Savage is a guest at Ikea's event.
When asked directly if this announcement could mean Halifax is getting an Ikea store, a spokeswoman for the mayor's office said she had no comment.
There was an Ikea store in Dartmouth's Burnside area from 1975 until 1988 when it closed.
Back in November Ikea announced plans to double its number of stores in Canada over the next 10 years after seeing in-store visits increase by four per cent in the last year.
New showroom-only store
Don Shiner, an associate professor of marketing at Mount Saint Vincent University, has studied the company extensively.
He said Ikea may have plans to test a new business model in Halifax: a showroom-type store unlike its regular large-scale locations in other cities.
"You can only go into the store and look at showroom displays and place an order, or pick up an order you may have made online earlier," he said.
A typical Ikea store has two floors and is around 500,000 square feet. But Shiner said we won't see that here.
"As I understand this new model, you go online for example, order your new kitchen. It'll be delivered to the Halifax store," he said. "And the shipping charges will be fairly small, compared to what you would have paid in the past."
Ikea 'very secretive'
The new business model is an attempt to target smaller markets, he said.
"Ikea is a privately owned company and it's very secretive," he said. "They're very methodical and take a long time to make a decision and they're very careful about their decisions."
Ikea said in November its Canadian sales rose more than 10 per cent to $1.79 billion in the 2014-15 fiscal year ending Aug. 31, while online sales jumped 40 per cent to $103 million.
The company said 26 million people visited its stores during that period. Ikea has been in Canada for 40 years.
On its website the company said it is already pushing forward with five smaller pick-up and order stores in Quebec and Ontario. Such sites are one-tenth the size of a traditional store.