Red Hook Ikea tops them all

Ikea docks in Red Hook
The Brooklyn Paper / Adrian Kinloch

The Red Hook Ikea that opened last summer has already become the Swedish home furnishing company’s best location on the continent, Borough President Markowitz announced on Monday.

“It’s their top-selling store in North America,” the Beep boasted during an otherwise somber discussion of retail and industrial business at Borough Hall.

Ikea officials would not confirm Markowitz’s cheerleading, citing company policy not to reveal the performance of individual stores.

But the success of the blue-and-gold giant would fit with long-repeated accounts that the Target on Atlantic Avenue and Costco on Third Avenue are the king of their respective hills, too.

And it bolsters the argument from business groups and real-estate experts that the demand for shopping outlets in Brooklyn is not being met.

In 2006, a study from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce found that booming Brooklyn had less shopping space per capita than sluggish cities like Detroit and Pittsburgh.

“Brooklyn has been so desperately under-retailed for so long that when these big retailers finally get a location here, they’re a huge success,” said Ken Freeman, a senior sales director for Massey Knakal.

“The combination of the population density and the above-average income levels probably explains the success.”

Ikea’s apparent success is a vindication for the planners who said the remote location on Beard Street would hurt the sale of futons and Swedish meatballs.

It also props up the argument that the city should ease the way for more big-box retail in Red Hook — such as the BJ’s Wholesale Club that is proposed for the lot next door to Ikea.

Markowitz has long ascribed to the idea that Brooklyn needs more retail business and has wooed other big chains like Trader Joe’s and, so far, unsuccessfully tried to get Nordstrom to set up shop here.

He says big chains will create more jobs and reduce the number of Brooklynites who drive to malls outside the city.