Mynet Jerusalem is reporting that IKEA has officially abandoned its plans to set up a branch in Malha Mall after signing a deal in the last weeks to open in Eshtaol instead. According to previous reports, IKEA had grown tired of the bureaucracy involved in building a Jerusalem branch and was looking to leave, however, no alternative location had been selected. The proposed branch would have been 27,000 square meters and employed 400 people.

IKEA, the Municipality and the JDA have been searching for a compromise that would place the Swedish furniture giant in the city within two years. Nir Barkat is reported to have met with their representatives at least once as part of the process. The massive size of the proposed store, which also was at the heart of its attractiveness to the city, held up a number of authorizations necessary to approve the site.

It is assumed that part of the reason that IKEA wanted to enter the Jerusalem market was to gain access to Jerusalem’s Arab population. Malha has increasingly attracted Arab clientele and it is possible that IKEA will once again look to open a store in Ramallah to achieve the same purpose.

IKEA has four locations around the country including Rishon LeZion, Netanya, Kiryat Atta and Be’er Sheva.

(Photo Credit: Moshe Milner, National Photo Collection)

2 COMMENTS

  1. I’m really disappointed at the City of Jerusalem Officials that they did not do better in accommodating IKEA in MALCHA, as without a car, it is a lot easier to get there than to go to Beit Shemesh. I guess the nordic mind and the israeli mind have ‘translation’ issues.

  2. There is a tendency in recent years for retail chains to close their Jerusalem branches. Two shops that I used to buy from very frequently are Office Depot which closed their major Malcha store leaving only a very small outlet in Talpiyot, and the art materials Arta, which had a branch in Nachalat Shiva. As a Jerusalemite, I find that I need to travel increasingly to Tel Aviv or Modiin to find a decent selection of goods. The alternative is to order by Internet from overseas or from Tel Aviv. However, postal deliveries within Jerusalem now take up to a month due to the downgrading of the postal service.
    I am not sure why established businesses are moving out of Jerusalem and new businesses are avoiding the city. Perhaps municipal taxation is relatively high while the local population is poorer than the Israeli average, rendering many retail businesses unprofitable. But I can imagine that the lack of a good variety of shops, except for clothing outlets, may be yet another factor driving young people out of Jerusalem in their droves.