First look: Ikea unveils first small UK store and shopping centre in Hammersmith

Ingka Centres has introduced Livat Hammersmith as a new space for people to come together

Ikea’s property arm Ingka Centres has transformed the Kings Mall in Hammersmith, west London into a “vibrant community destination” – its first urban meeting place, which opened this week.

The new £170 million meeting place has been renamed Livat Hammersmith, and is the company’s first Livat meeting place in Europe.

Livat houses Ikea’s only small format store in the UK – which is a quarter the size of a typical store.

Ikea's first small format store in Hammersmith
Ikea’s first small format store in Hammersmith

The store is the first of its kind in the UK and focuses on home accessories, soft furnishings and a new food offer called The Swedish Deli.

Set across two floors, the 4,600 sqm Ikea store takes inspiration from London living and has a free-flowing layout with roomsets designed around urban living.

It stocks 4,000 products, which are located next to the roomsets they represent, rather than Ikea’s traditional Market Hall concept. Larger home furniture pieces will be on display and can be ordered for home delivery or delivery to nearby collection points.

The Ikea store focuses on soft furnishings for urban living
The Ikea store focuses on soft furnishings for urban living

The store will also house The Swedish Deli, which goes beyond serving Ikea’s iconic meatballs and sells a range of hot and cold Scandinavian delicacies, including Smörrebröd open sandwiches, Nordic Chicken Caesar and Swedish Mazarin. It will also serve plant balls, a vegan alternative to Ikea’s traditional meatballs.

Customers can dine-in, take away and also grab and go, as the deli will open at 8am on weekdays, one hour earlier than the store itself.

Livat Hammersmith is just over a third of the size of its typical site and its first in the UK

The shopping mall, Livat Hammersmith, has been opened as a new space for residents, Londoners and visitors to come together to eat and shop.

At 37,000 sq metres, Livat is just over a third of the size of its typical site and its first in the UK.

Brightly coloured seating on a stairway below a repaved atrium will lead to a locally run cafe above the mall, which sits beside a revamped outdoor space for council tenants in the residential block above, with a wildflower meadow, seating and planters.

The mall will include a small market hall for local food pop-ups alongside Ikea’s Swedish Deli and two further cafes offering meatballs, open sandwiches and coffees.

Alongside the new Ikea store, the meeting place will offer a lively programme of events and pop-up outlets to provide the community with different ways to spend time together.

It will offer a bookable ‘pay-by-the-hour’ adaptive retail space operated by Sook, giving the local community affordable access to an exciting new destination designed for people to meet, connect and shop with a variety of different businesses.

The meeting place will offer a lively programme of events and pop up outlets

When Ingka Centres acquired the Kings Mall two years ago, over a quarter of stores in the run-down Hammersmith shopping centre were vacant.

The former Kings Mall is now fully let, with new tenants including German discount supermarket Lidl, a Library of Things and Sook, the rent-by-the hour retail or events space, alongside an Ikea outlet.

“We know that our visitors and the wider community want more spaces in which to meet, shop, socialize and work which are fun, human and eco-friendly. Livat Hammersmith will offer just that,” Ingka Centres managing director Cindy Andersen said.

“Our urban meeting places have been designed to reflect the needs of those living in city centres, with more regular visits and fewer journeys by car.

“This new vibrant offer provides places where everyone feels welcome and will be encouraged to come more often to explore amazing experiences while supporting the local community and the planet.

“Across our global meeting places, I have been humbled by how our communities have pulled together to overcome the challenges of the pandemic.

“As we look to the future, what is clear to us is that the desire to meet and connect in real-life has never been stronger, and I am confident people are eager to embrace new experiences such as those on offer from today at Livat Hammersmith.”

Andersen said Ikea was “actively searching” for more urban sites to redevelop in cities in the UK and across Europe and North America.

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