Indianapolis IKEA impacts entire retail community

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Retailing giant IKEA, the Swedish furniture store, opens in Indianapolis on Wednesday (Oct. 11). Purdue University retail specialist Richard Feinberg makes clear the opening is no routine event.

“IKEA is the world’s largest furniture retailer and the most-sought-after big retailer,” the consumer sciences professor said. “IKEA generally attracts consumers from a 200-mile radius.”

The 289,000-square-foot store in Fishers on Indianapolis’ north side opens to anxious consumers 9 a.m. Wednesday. At full employment, staffing will reach approximately 250 full-time employees. It will display more than 10,000 items and feature a 325-seat restaurant.

Feinberg noted IKEA is known as a great place to work in most of its communities. Workers who put in 20 hours or more weekly are eligible for many benefits. Additionally, an IKEA usually adds an average of 1.75 new jobs in new or existing businesses near IKEA.

The furniture store is unlike others. IKEA displays all of its furniture in room settings. At the end of the nearly one-hour walk through the store, consumers find the items they wish to purchase in a warehouse setting. Customers load the items on a cart and go to check out.

“IKEA is a tourist destination above and beyond its retail function,” the Purdue professor said. “People go to have an entertaining afternoon. The arrival of this store is a signal that Indianapolis in in the top ranks of retailing and should be a significant sign to other national retailers who have yet to consider Indianapolis as worthy of their stores.

An IKEA is also a boon to state coffers.

“There is considerable tax revenue for state and the local community,” Feinberg said. “IKEA sells lots of stuff; an average store generates $90 million revenue. At 7 percent sales tax that’s $6.3 million in additional tax revenue. It’s important to consider that many people go to Chicago or Cincinnati to go to the nearest IKEA resulting in lost money for Indiana.”

Feinberg said there was one other significant development for Central Indiana hosting a new IKEA: “Finally, it brings Swedish meatballs to Indianapolis.” 

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