Photo/IllutrationAn artist rendition of a commercial complex in Tokyo's Harajuku district where Ikea’s first small urban shop will be located (Provided by Ikea Japan)

With its sales declining, Ikea Japan dumped its strategy of building large outlets in suburban areas and instead plans to open smaller urban shops, starting in Tokyo’s trendsetting Harajuku district in spring 2020.

The shop will open on the first and second floors of a commercial complex under construction about a one-minute walk from JR Harajuku Station. It will boast about 2,500 square meters of floor space and will not only sell furniture and other household items but also offer food and drinks.

The Japanese branch of the Swedish furniture retailer currently has nine outlets across the country, including in the suburbs of Sendai, Funabashi in Chiba Prefecture, Osaka and Kobe. Many shoppers arrive by car to those mainly large stores.

The company posted sales of 74 billion yen ($653 million) in the business year that ended in August 2017, down slightly from the previous year.

Ikea Japan plans to open 14 outlets in total by 2020, and has held intense discussions on where to put them.

Company officials decided on urban areas that were easily accessible because the number of young people without cars is increasing. Several shops will open in central Tokyo in two or three years. Others will also be located in major cities.

Helene Von Reis, president and CEO of Ikea Japan, told The Asahi Shimbun in August that one reason for the downturn in sales is that furniture retailer Nitori Co. has accelerated the opening of outlets in central areas of the capital.

She said her company mulled the idea of opening shops in urban areas in the same way.