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KW23_IN_IKEA_Marino Maganto_PORTRAIT

KUWAIT - Industry

Marino Maganto

CEO, IKEA Kuwait

Bio

Marino Maganto is the CEO of IKEA Kuwait, Jordan and Morocco. He joined IKEA in 1996 in the IKEA food and beverage department of the Madrid store. During the years he has assumed different responsibilities within IKEA, from store sales manager and store manager to deputy managing director for IKEA Germany, the biggest IKEA market with more than 40 stores. In 2013, he joined Al-Homaizi Group as CEO for SYH Retail, with responsibility for IKEA operations in Kuwait, Jordan, and Morocco.

IKEA Kuwait has become one of the country’s most well-loved brands via its focus on delivering extraordinary services and innovative campaigns.
IKEA Kuwait has become one of the country’s most well-loved brands via its focus on delivering extraordinary services and innovative campaigns.
What has been the company’s experience in Kuwait since 1984?

IKEA Kuwait was one of the first IKEA stores outside of Scandinavia. It was here and in Saudi Arabia where the expansion began for IKEA at the early stages. We started with a small store of around 4,000sqm. Since then, we have been growing and developing, arriving at where we are in today. Closer than ever to where people live and shop, with the IKEA “Blue Box” Store in the Avenues, IKEA 360 and Assima Mall. IKEA is one of the most loved brands in the country. Our presence here since 1984 has played a part on the local development, and many customers relate IKEA to their childhood. We have been an active part in their lives, especially the generation of Kuwaitis that grew up with IKEA, and who are now having children of their own. They want them to experience the same magic.

What is IKEA’s approach to diverse markets across the globe?

I believe that all markets are different, and that we should never fall into the trap of globalizing our approach. The beauty lies in finding the unique, whether it is the local value ladder, way of living, or specific behaviors, and understanding the essence of that specific market. In Kuwait, what we find is that it is home to a well-traveled population. The consumer in Kuwait is very demanding, specially from a service perspective, which has forced us to think beyond the usual standards. In Kuwait, for example, we have services that are unique. We have what we call IKEA on Wheels. This is a service that we exclusively provide in Kuwait, where a team of people goes to your home, and plans, give you advice and propose complete solutions to suit your needs, on the spot in your house. We have a van filled with samples, materials, and all types of equipment. You book an appointment online, and we come to you. We bring a designer, a salesperson, and do everything there. We take the measurements and show you the samples. We do this, to save you time and support your choices in a setting you feel comfortable in. We were also very successful in introducing virtual shopping and store tours, throughout the pandemic, which we plan to roll out again soon. Finally, due to the high level of entrepreneurial activity in the country, we are launching our IKEA for Business strategy (B2B), which will focus on providing entrepreneurs and small businesses the support they need. We want to be part of society, of people’s daily lives, and of the development of the community and the country. Instead of being considered a retailer, we aim to be a partner in creating better lives for people.

What is IKEA’s sustainable strategy approach?

We have what we call People and Planet Positive Strategy. This is a long-term sustainability initiative broken down into the three key components of circularity, healthy and sustainable living, and equality. When it comes to Kuwait, we apply these three from different perspectives. We place emphasis on creating a sustainable building from the construction stage. All the stores we operate today have LED lighting to reduce consumption, and we have internally implemented policies and awareness. We also provide healthy meals for free for all of our co-workers. In 2021, instead of making meals free, we made the healthy option free. We have already implemented meat-free meals in our restaurant. Basically, we want to help with healthier living. We launched a magazine at the start of 2022 that gives tips and ideas on how to live a better life. We talk about ergonomics, and the home office, for example. Many of these initiatives have nothing to do with our sales, but rather, have everything to do with our mission of supporting the people around us to have a better life.

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