Ikea to bring scaled-down “pop-up” stores to Madrid and Barcelona

Swedish chain celebrating 20 years in Spain with temporary spaces open for just 10 days

Javier Salvatierra
Work is already underway on the Ikea pop-up store in Madrid.
Work is already underway on the Ikea pop-up store in Madrid.

Swedish furniture chain Ikea will open two pop-up stores in Spain as part of its calendar of events to celebrate 20 years operating in the country.

The temporary retail spaces are located in two well-known parts of Madrid and Barcelona: the Rastro area of the Spanish capital, and the Born neighborhood of the Catalan city.

The old notions of “a home and furniture to last your entire life” were dropped in the 1990s

Work is already underway at both stores, which will remain open between October 21 and 30. Shelves will be stocked with “very Swedish” products that are not available at any permanent store, said Antonella Pucarelli, the deputy director general of Ikea Ibérica.

“They will be exclusive products that cannot be found at other Ikea stores in Spain. Not even in Ikea stores in other countries,” said Pucarelli. “It’s a selection of mostly decorative products.”

Because of logistics issues involving the size of the retail space (460 square meters in Madrid and 100 square meters in Barcelona), neither pop-up store will sell large pieces of furniture.

The Madrid store will be located on Ribera de Curtidores street, very near Cascorro square, at a spot that fills up on weekends because of the popular flea market known as El Rastro. In Barcelona, the Ikea store will open on Comerç street.

Ikea opened its first store in Spain 20 years ago.
Ikea opened its first store in Spain 20 years ago.AFP

“We wanted to open them in the most emblematic parts of town, but not on the most commercial streets such as Madrid’s Gran Vía,” added Pucarelli.

The Madrid pop-up store will remain open between October 21 and 30, while the Barcelona space will close one day earlier, on October 29. Opening hours will be 10am to 9pm.

Besides selling products, the stores are also setting aside some space for workshops that will offer tips for decorating and personalizing furniture.

Ikea opened its first Spanish store in May 1996 in the Catalan city of Badalona. In September of that same year, Madrid got its Alcorcón store. Since then, physical expansion has been followed by an effort to reach out to a wider client base through online sales.

Smaller homes, fewer things

Spaniards who have moved out of the family home live in smaller houses with fewer things in them, according to a new study by Madrid’s Complutense University.

Ikea sponsored the research work ¿Cómo han cambiado los hogares españoles? Un análisis del periodo 1995-2015 (or, How have Spanish households changed? An analysis of the 1995-2015 period).

The report concludes that the 1970s and 1980s notions of “a home to last your entire life” and “furniture to last your entire life” were dropped in the 1990s, just as the baby boomers entered the job market.

It was then, in the mid-1990s, that Ikea landed in Spain to “satisfy unfulfilled desires” in a country where furniture options were “expensive, unattractive, impractical and old-fashioned.”

Because of space problems, neither pop-up store will sell large pieces of furniture

The study goes on to claim that Ikea has contributed “to some degree” in helping young Spaniards move out of their parents’ home, and that the company also helped Spanish families during the crisis by offering affordable products while making Spanish homes more modern and practical.

The study interviewed 2,009 people ages 22 through 64 who live alone. Of these, 21.5% said that their home is decorated like their parents’, while 61.9% said they have fewer objects in them.

Ikea has also turned Spaniards into experts at assembling their own furniture, something which would have been unthinkable a few decades ago. “In order for furniture to be cheap, we all need to do our part,” said Pucarelli.

English version by Susana Urra.

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