IKEA plans to open full shopping malls in the U.S., capitalizing on retail vacancies and correcting for American malls’ lack of innovation.

WHAT HAPPENED: IKEA wants to introduce its shopping mall Ingka Centre to the U.S. by purchasing vacant spaces left by bankrupt retailers. There are currently 45 Ingka Centres across Europe, Russia and China and the company is seeking to expand its fleet into New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.

WHY IT MATTERS

Ingka Centres could become a competitor to traditional mall landlords like Brookfield and Simon, innovating in an increasingly stale retail sector. While the structure of the mall itself has become increasingly unappealing to consumers, the Swedish company offers novelty and an international flavor that could entice shoppers to return to malls in the U.S. As IKEA has been eager to expand into more American cities, the Inka Centres could provide the ideal format to reach urban shoppers and introduce new global brands. Additionally, Inka Centres could pose additional problems for traditional mall landlords, which continue to bail out failing tenants—or push them to more effectively evolve their brand and retail offerings. Despite the turbulent retail climate in the U.S., IKEA will be poised to capitalize on prime vacancy locations, as well as the lack of innovation in America’s physical retail landscape.