John Lewis is among several UK retailers understood to be in talks with Ikea to open shops in Russia, as part of the furniture giant's plan to expand its Mega Mall shopping centre concept.
Ikea will open three more Mega Mall shopping centres in Russia this year, and is targeting UK retailers that want to break into the emerging market.
Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad has invested US$5 billion (£2.5bn) to create new shopping centres in Moscow and other cities in Russia and the Ukraine.
Stephan Andersson, the director and vice president of strategic development and leasing at Mega Mall and Ikea, said he wanted to take advantage of the growing appetite for UK and European brands in the region. "Britishness is liked in Russia," he said. "Moscow is like London, Copenhagen or Chicago in terms of its desire for fashion."
Referring to the influx of UK retailers into China, he said: "China may have a massive population, but most of them don't have any money. About 30% of Russia's population has money to spend on fashion."
Andersson added that one shopping centre will open in Moscow and two more in other cities by the end of the year. By the end of 2008, Ikea plans to have 15 shopping centres.
Ikea has developed eight Russian shopping centres in the past four years. In terms of size they are typically about 2 million sq ft with up to 250 shops, more than a third of which is fashion.
UK CHAINS ALREADY IN RUSSIA'S MEGA MALLS
- Marks & Spencer
- Paul Smith