IKEA UK has announced the proposed closure of its Coventry store in summer 2020.
The West Midlands branch – one of 22 IKEA stores in the UK – was built in 2007 in the city centre and is one of the homeware giant’s earliest examples of testing a new format to meet its customers’ changing needs and expectations.
IKEA said: ‘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 added that it 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. But ‘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 said ‘the nature of the site means this is not a realistic option’.
Peter Jelkeby, country retail manager and chief sustainability officer of IKEA UK and Ireland, commented: “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.”
Following the closure, customers will still be able to shop in three standard IKEA stores locally at Nottingham, Milton Keynes and Birmingham or online at www.IKEA.co.uk.
IKEA is also exploring alternative options for customers in Coventry, such as the introduction of collection points where customers can order online and pick up their products from convenient places across the city.
In 2019, IKEA opened its most sustainable store to date in Greenwich, and two Planning Studios in London on Tottenham Court Road and Bromley which specialise in providing advice and planning for kitchen and bedrooms.
So far this year, Ingka Centres (part of the Ingka Group, which owns and operates IKEA Retail under franchise agreements) has acquired Hammersmith’s Kings Mall Shopping Centre, paving the way for the brand’s first small-format city store in the UK, due to open in Spring 2021.