IKEA partners with mall operator SM Prime for first Philippines store

FILE PHOTO: The logo of IKEA is seen above a store in Voesendorf, Austria, April 24, 2017. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader /File Photo

MANILA (Reuters) - Global furniture retailer IKEA AB [IKEA.UL] will in 2020 open its first store in the Philippines located at one of the world's biggest shopping malls, mall operator SM Prime Holdings Inc SMPH.PS said on Friday.

SM Prime, the Philippines’ biggest property firm, will build premises at the SM Mall of Asia to rent to IKEA under an agreement signed earlier this year, said Alexander Pomento, SM Prime vice president for investor relations.

The firm is also considering renting some of the new space to other tenants, he said.

Up to 300,000 people a day pass through the SM Mall of Asia, situated in the Manila Bay retail, residential and entertainment hub.

A spokeswoman for Inter IKEA Systems, the brand owner and franchiser of IKEA, confirmed that a store would open in the Philippines, but had no further details.

IKEA, whose founder Ingvar Kamprad died in January at the age of 91, operates through a franchise system.

It has 415 stores in 49 markets, many in out-of-town malls. The firm in November said it would increase city-center showrooms.

SM Prime, owned by the Philippines’ richest man, is valued at $19 billion and has interests in shopping malls, office towers, residential buildings, hotels and convention centers.

Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Additional reporting by Olof Swahnberg in STOCKHOLM; Editing by Martin Petty and Christopher Cushing