The IKEA Impact for Economic Development


When Global Retail Brands Locate in Your City, Corporate Business Follows

IKEA, the popular Swedish-based home furnishings retailer, has been chronicled as an economic indicator in terms of its global sales and materials sourcing. It also can have a significant impact for cities looking to attract people and corporations that are examining the quality of life and vibrancy of a community and region for possible relocation, says Jerry Mallot, JAXUSA President.

When destination retail brands with strong consumer loyalty (almost cult-like followings) like IKEA, Bass Pro Shops, Nordstrom, Trader Joe’s and Tiffany & Company move into an area, it indicates something important to executives and corporations not in the retail space. 

Growth – High-end and destination retailers moving into a city signifies a region is growing and has a bright future. Yes, growth has to happen beforehand to entice retailers and ensure a solid consumer base. As these retail establishments enter the market, it signals to the rest of the world – corporations, financial institutions, manufacturers, technology companies – that the city is a good investment for long-term business growth.

Strong Workforce – Residents with a disposable income sufficient enough to shop at these retail establishments also demonstrate the region has a large, talented and successful workforce. Just the type of workforce that other companies look for in their own potential employees. Knowing there is a ready-made talent pool and strong attraction base for new talent in the area is very appealing to businesses looking to relocate headquarters or establish a new operation.

Lifestyle Amenities – In addition to good schools, outdoor activities and available housing, companies considering a new city evaluate other quality-of-life aspects for employees, including access to quality retail. Iconic brands that are easily accessible to employees and their families influence whether a city is considered.

National and international corporations considering a location decision evaluate the totality of the area, not only what is conducive for business operations, such as corporate taxation and state or local incentives. An influx of popular retail brands, like IKEA, to an area is very attractive to more than just the shopper. It extends to companies in other cities, states or countries that seek regional markets, affluence and growth cities. If community and regional leaders take advantage of destination retail openings, businesses of all types are likely to follow.