Ikea has already opened two Mega malls just outside Moscow with a further five under construction. It also has four standalone stores.
Ikea acts as retailer, investor and developer for the complexes, whichattractinternational tenants, such as Obi, Stockmann and Zara, seeking a foothold in the market. It also sees potential to open additionalstandalonestores alongside the malls in key cities.
Ikea centre manager operations Russia Herman Gewert said: 'In the long term, 15 to 20 [Mega malls] in Russia would probably be phase one. Cities with 500,000 people have huge potential.'
Gewert said Ikea was committed tofostering'atrueretail climate in Russia'. However, he highlighted obstacles, in particular a 'continual struggle with local authorities. It is difficult to get building permits and there are new regulations all the time.'
Ikea has also founded a Mega university to train sales staff and teach 'friendly attitudes and how to sell'.