Ingka Centres said on Thursday that it has entered the UK market with the acquisition of the Kings Mall shopping centre in Hammersmith, London from Schroder UK Real Estate Fund.
Ingka - one of 12 different groups of companies that own and operate IKEA retail - plans to transform the shopping centre into a new IKEA-anchored urban, mixed-use destination, for a total investment of £170 mln (€200 mln).
The acquisition is Ingka Centres’ first in the UK and represents a milestone for the company, which in 2018 announced a new strategic vision and investment of €7.3 bn to transform its business in response to the changing retail environment.
Kings Mall will be the first mixed-use project in a downtown location, anchored by an IKEA city store. These urban projects are designed to complement IKEA retail’s strategy of opening smaller format stores in inner city locations in response to global urbanisation trends, changing customer behaviour and the digitalisation of retail.
The property was acquired from Schroder UK Real Estate Fund and comprises 27,133 m2, including the shopping centre car park for 604 lots.
Gerard Groener, Ingka Centres’ managing director, commented: 'Our urban projects are all about getting closer to more people, and a revamped Kings Mall will be an ideal location for reaching millions of Londoners. Hammersmith is a place where people work, live and spend their leisure time, and we want to be part of it. It is one of London’s main retail, commercial and residential centres, and has excellent public transport links.'
Under Ingka's plans, Kings Mall will remain a retail-led destination, anchored by IKEA, but it will go far beyond shopping.
Groener continued: 'We believe we can upgrade assets in good locations and Kings Mall is a great example of this. Modern physical retail needs to be built around local community needs, a complementary mix of uses, digitalisation and sustainability. We simply have to stay relevant to our customers and understand how people want to spend their time.'
Jessica Berney, fund manager, Schroder UK Real Estate Fund (SREF), added, 'The sale of Kings Mall marks the successful completion of our business plan since acquisition in 2015 and we look forward to seeing what the new ownership will bring to the scheme.This investment from Ingka Centres represents an exciting new chapter for the Hammersmith retail environment, whilst SREF will reinvest the sale proceeds into the other exciting development projects currently underway within its portfolio.'