IKEA breaks ground in Oak Creek for its first Wisconsin store. Wochit

Amid one of the most tumultuous decades in the history of U.S. retailing, a new wrinkle will be added Thursday when ground is broken on Wisconsin’s first IKEA store.

Twenty-nine acres along W. Drexel Ave. near Interstate 94 in Oak Creek are about to be transformed into what could become one of the most popular retail destinations in the state.

The new store will stand in sharp contrast to the prevailing trends in the industry. Big-box retailers are closing stores throughout the nation, leaving suburban shopping malls in peril as their anchors go dark.

The list of U.S. retailers with troubled financials that could make them potential bankruptcy risks now totals 22, according to ratings by Moody’s Investors Service — topping the 19 recorded at the peak of the Great Recession.

Consumers increasingly are shopping online, rather than going to brick-and-mortar stores.

Yet IKEA, the Swedish self-assembled-furniture store chain, is charging ahead.

When the store opens, likely sometime next summer, Oak Creek will have a 291,000-square-foot brick-and-mortar retailer that not only will sell its signature furniture and home and office décor, but also will feature a 300-seat restaurant serving specialties such as Swedish meatballs with lingonberries.

It will be the company’s 48th store in the U.S., and its arrival means Wisconsin shoppers won’t have to travel to IKEA’s Schaumburg, Ill., location to check out its merchandise in person.

The stage was set for an IKEA in Oak Creek when officials in the suburb provided about $5 million to help construct a new interchange on Drexel Ave. as I-94 was being rebuilt. The new interchange gave IKEA, which had been looking at the Wisconsin market for some time, the freeway access it needed and a path to the kind of acreage it was seeking in the state.

Some site grading work already is underway, but Thursday’s 10:30 a.m. ceremony gives Oak Creek Mayor Dan Bukiewicz, other dignitaries and IKEA representatives a chance to officially celebrate the start of construction.

In…