IKEA announces it is closing its first ever large UK store

Furniture chain IKEA announces it is closing its first ever large UK store leaving 350 jobs at risk

Ikea has confirmed plans to shut its Coventry store, marking the first time the Swedish retailer has closed one of its large UK sites since arriving in the country 33 years ago.   

The furniture chain said that the Coventry store, one of 22 IKEA stores in the UK, was one of the earliest examples of testing a new format to meet customers’ ‘changing needs and expectations’.

But the store being built over seven levels had a ‘significant impact on the operating costs’, Ikea said in a press release.

They added that customers in the area who ‘prefer to shop in retail parks and online’ had caused visitor numbers to become ‘substantially lower than expected and continuing to decrease over time’, leading to the store making consistent losses.

Ikea is now consulting with 352 employees affected by the closure to discuss the proposals and next steps. 

Ikea has confirmed plans to shut its Coventry store – marking the first time the Swedish retail chain has closed one of its large UK sites since arriving in the country 33 years ago (file photo)

The retailer said they had tried moving business operations to the site, but this did not stem the ‘fundamental challenges connected to the location and the format of the store’. 

Ikea also looked at options for downsizing or reconfiguring the store, but the ‘nature of the site means this is not a realistic option’, they said. 

Peter Jelkeby, Country Retail Manager and Chief Sustainability Officer, Ikea UK and Ireland said: ‘The proposed closure of the store has not been an easy decision, particularly given the impact it will have on our co-workers. I would like to thank our Coventry co-workers who have contributed enormously throughout this time.

‘Although this isn’t an easy decision, this is the right decision for the long-term success of Ikea in the UK. 

‘At Ikea, we are constantly challenging ourselves to find ways to meet the needs of our customers and we will continue to try and test, investing in stores, fulfilment centres, city centre formats and our digital capabilities to make IKEA even more affordable, convenient and sustainable.’

The company claimed they are committed to exploring how best to meet its customers in a ‘changing retail environment where shoppers demand faster services, higher quality products, lower prices, more convenience and greater accessibility’.  

The Coventry store will remain open during the consultation period, before the proposed store closure in the summer.   

 

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