Jan 10, 2018

Hold the meatballs: Ikea experiments with small format stores

Photo: Peter Muhly / Getty

Ikea is expanding the number of markets in which it offers online sales, and opening dozens of new, urban small-format stores (roughly 1/4 the size of a typical 80,000 square foot outlets, and which won't feature the company's famous meatball-serving cafeterias).

Why it matters: Ikea CEO Jesper Brodin tells Bloomberg that his company is moving at "revolutionary speed" to adapt to the future of retail. Foot traffic at Ikea stores has been flat for a number of years, suggesting that the rising share of young people — Ikea's key demographic — are choosing to live in urban areas far from a typical Ikea's exurban location.

Our thought bubble: If it is young people's greater tendency to live in urban areas that is hampering Ikea's growth, small format stores will boost sales only if Ikea can simultaneously make online shopping and delivery cheaper and more convenient. Carless yuppies aren't going to lug bookshelves on the subway or in an Uber, if companies like Amazon or Wayfair can get them the same product delivered to their doorsteps at comparable prices.

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Ivanka Trump plans focus on coronavirus recovery for small businesses

Ivanka Trump speaks at yesterday's White House videoconference with bank and credit card executives. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Ivanka Trump personally lobbied top bank executives to line up the $1.5 billion in commitments to small business that were announced yesterday at a videoconference among the bank executives and President Trump — stoking competitive juices among the execs to drive up their commitments.

The state of play: Ivanka, who has had workforce development in her portfolio going back to 2017, plans an increasing emphasis on small businesses in the weeks ahead as they navigate the rescue bill’s Payroll Protection Program, sources tell me.

Public transit's death spiral

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Public transit systems across the country are experiencing a painful trifecta: Ridership has collapsed, funding streams are squeezed, and mass transit won't bounce back from the pandemic nearly as fast as other modes of transportation.

Why it matters: Transit agencies could see an annual shortfall of as much as $38 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to TransitCenter. At the same time, they're more important than ever, with more than 36% of essential workers relying on public transportation to get to work.

Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: London mayor says U.K. nowhere near lockdown lifting

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern offered hope in the fight against the novel coronavirus, saying she believes New Zealand has "turned a corner" after two weeks of strict lockdown measures. But London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said the U.K. is "nowhere near" lifting restrictions.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed over 82,000 people and infected 1.4 million others globally as of early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Global recoveries have surpassed 301,000. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 141,000) and Italy the most deaths (over 17,000). Half the planet's population is on lockdown.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health