RPT-IKEA to open store in central Paris in 2019

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STOCKHOLM, April 17 (Reuters) - IKEA Group, owner of most IKEA budget furniture stores, said on Tuesday it would open one of its new, smaller city-centre stores in downtown Paris by summer 2019 as part of a push to become more accessible to shoppers.

A surge in online trade and home delivery poses a challenge to IKEA’s classic out-of-town warehouse stores, and the company said last year it was developing full-range city-centre formats alongside better e-commerce and services.

Items at its first French city-centre store will be displayed in a new way thanks to new digital technology and services, the budget furniture retailer said in a statement.

It said the store, which at 5,000 square metres (54,000 square feet) will be less than one-fifth the size of a standard IKEA store, would be in the upmarket Madeleine neighbourhood and cost 6.6 million euro ($8.2 million).

An IKEA Group spokeswoman said the company had not yet decided how much of the the range would be on display, and how many of the smaller items would be readily available to carry home from the store. Larger furniture at least would be for home delivery only.

IKEA opened a first, bigger downtown store in 2014, in Hamburg, Germany. Planned new downtown locations include London’s Greenwich borough and Copenhagen, in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

IKEA has also started trying other, smaller city-centre formats, such as a kitchen showroom in Stockholm and a Madrid bedroom showroom and accessories store. It is also rolling out order and pickup points.

France is IKEA Group’s third-biggest market with 33 stores and sales of 2.7 billion euros ($3.33 billion) in its last fiscal year.

IKEA, the world’s biggest home furnishing brand, operates through a franchise system. IKEA Group, with 363 stores, is the main franchisor to brand owner Inter IKEA.

$1 = 0.8102 euros Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; editing by Niklas Pollard and Adrian Croft