Fresh blow for struggling Oxford Street as Ikea pushes back opening date for new shop until next year
- Ikea now hopes its new Oxford Street store will be open by autumn 2024
Ikea has pushed back the opening date for its new London store until next year in a fresh blow for struggling Oxford Street.
Work on the Oxford Street store, which was previously home to Topshop’s flagship London site, started last year. Ikea originally said it would open in autumn this year but has now said it hopes it will open by autumn 2024.
It came as the Swedish retail giant today unveiled a 128ft (39m) by 62ft (19m) version of its signature blue Frakta carrier bag covering the scaffolding of the site.
Oxford Street was once the flagship location for Britain’s high-end stores but the shopping destination is becoming increasingly abandoned by the big name brands that earned it such esteem.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the look of the British high street forever as iconic brands were plunged into administration and forced to close their doors.
Ikea has pushed back the opening date for its new London store until next year in a fresh blow for struggling Oxford Street
The Swedish retail giant today unveiled a 128ft (39m) by 62ft (19m) version of its signature blue Frakta carrier bag covering the scaffolding of the site
Work on the Oxford Street store, which was previously home to Topshop’s flagship London site, started last year. Ingka Investment bought the Grade II listed building at 214 Oxford Street after Topshop owner Arcadia fell into administration. Pictured: The former site of Oxford Street’s TopShop store earlier this year
Ikea’s new store, offering around 6,000 different products, will include a showroom, market hall, and a Swedish deli serving Ikea’s famous meatballs.
Ingka Investment, the investment arm of the retail group, bought the Grade II listed building at 214 Oxford Street after Topshop owner Arcadia fell into administration.
The renovation project at the site is creating a new 82,000 square feet store covering three floors, along with four floors of office space.
Peter Jelkeby, chief executive and chief sustainability officer of Ikea UK, said: ‘We’re incredibly excited to be bringing Ikea to the heart of London’s vibrant retail scene on Oxford Street, which is a major milestone in our continued expansion plans across the capital.
‘By having a presence at one of the most iconic shopping destinations in the world, we’re taking a significant step forward in our ongoing journey to make it easier to shop with Ikea – whenever, wherever and however customers choose.’
Oxford Street in 1940. Bombing raids in London did not deter shoppers from venturing out – and department store John Lewis reopened just three weeks after the German Air Force razed the greater part of the store to the ground
Oxford Street has lost iconic shops that have given way to American candy stores, vape kiosks and more than 40 empty units
Oxford Street is now packed with ‘candy’ stores that sell overpriced chocolate, sweets and crisps
The demise of Oxford Street could spell the end for all British high streets, which risk collapsing into ‘wastelands’ unless there are major regeneration efforts, retail chiefs have warned. Pictured: TopShop’s Oxford Street store in 2021
Ingka Investments managing director Peter van der Poel said: ‘When refurbishing this over 100-year-old historic landmark, it’s important for us as an investor to treat the building with care and to preserve its characteristics and atmosphere.
‘At the same time, we want to upgrade it to today’s standards with the best possible sustainability credentials.
‘To ensure all of this, the extensive refurbishment will take more time than initially anticipated and Ikea Oxford Street city store is now expected to open in 2024.’
It comes as industry experts have warned the demise of Oxford Street could spell the end for all British high streets, which risk collapsing into ‘wastelands’ unless there are major regeneration efforts
Oxford Street, which is one of the biggest victims of the slow death of the high street across Britain, has been overrun in recent years by tacky sweet shops that have replaced household names.
The renovation project at the new Ikea site is creating a new 82,000 square feet store covering three floors, along with four floors of office space. The store is pictured today
A woman today looks up at a large installation representing a Frakta bag is unveiled as Ikea prepares for its 2024 debut on Oxford Street in London
As big names such as TopShop, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Debenhams, Oasis and Warehouse disappeared, city centres across the country were left with empty windows and people instead searching for their favourite labels online.
Despite this, shoppers continue to creep back, with footfall up 12 per cent year-on-year last week and seven per cent since the beginning of the year, according to New West End Company, which represents 600 retailers and hoteliers in the area.
But the Retail Sector Council – which is made up of members including the bosses of Boots, Sainsbury’s and Primark – told ministers earlier this month that competition law needed to be reformed to support the industry.
Former Co-op chief Richard Pennycook, who is co-chairman of the council, said towns across the country risked becoming ‘wastelands’ because of the demise of high streets.
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