IKEA UK has announced the proposed closure of its Coventry store in summer 2020 with plans to explore alternative ways for its Coventry customers to shop.
IKEA’s Coventry store, one of 22 IKEA stores in the UK, was built in 2007 in the city centre and was one of the retailer’s earliest examples of testing a new format to meet its customer’s changing needs and expectations.
However, given its location and the size of the land available at the time, the store was built over seven levels, which resulted in a significant impact on the operating costs of the store and the shopping experience for customers. In addition, the changing behavior of customers in the area who prefer to shop in retail parks and online has resulted in visitor numbers being substantially lower than expected and continuing to decrease over time. These factors have led to the store making consistent losses.
The retailer has tried a number of initiatives over the years to drive sales growth and make the store more cost efficient, such as moving various business operations to the site, however, these have not resolved the fundamental challenges connected to the location and the format of the store. IKEA has also looked at options for downsizing or reconfiguring the store, but the nature of the site means this is not a realistic option.
IKEA will now enter a period of consultation with the 352 co-workers affected by the closure to discuss the proposals and next steps. IKEA has the ambition to retain as many people as possible within IKEA and, where this isn’t possible, support them to find new employment.
In addition, IKEA is exploring alternative ways for customers in Coventry, such as the introduction of collections points where customers can order online and pick up their products from convenient places across the city.
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.”
During the consultation period, the Coventry store will remain open, before the proposed store closure in the summer. Upon the proposed closure of the Coventry store, customers will still be able to shop in three standard IKEA stores locally (IKEA Nottingham, IKEA Milton Keynes and IKEA Birmingham), or online at www.IKEA.co.uk.