PARIS (Reuters) - Swedish furniture giant Ikea [IKEA.UL] said on Tuesday it will open its first store in the heart of Paris on May 6 as part of its global strategy to launch smaller city centre outlets to meet changing shopping habits.
The world's biggest furniture retailer is known for its vast self-service, out-of-town stores but is shifting its business model in the face of mounting competition and more demanding consumers, who'd rather order furniture online to their door than trek to city outskirts.
France is Ikea's third largest market, after Germany and the United States, and the new 5,400 square metre store will spread over two levels on the Boulevard de la Madeleine on Paris' right bank. The area, close to the Paris Opera, was recently affected by anti-government "yellow vest" protests, forcing some retailers there to temporarily close when the protests turned violent.
It will be Ikea's first full-range, city-center store without a self-service warehouse.
"This first city-center store was developed to meet city dwellers' expectations," Ikea Retail France CEO Walter Kadnar said.
The Swedish group has in recent years opened a few smaller-format city centre stores or formats focussed on one or two product categories, such as a kitchen showroom in Stockholm.
It did not disclose the scale of the Paris investment, which will be Ikea's 34th store in France.
Ikea employs 10,184 people in France, where its sales rose 3 percent in the 2017/18 fiscal year to 2.829 billion euros.
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Susan Fenton)