Ikea UK says it is to close its Coventry store this summer, threatening 352 jobs, in the face of changing customer behaviour.
Ikea first opened in the centre of Coventry in 2007 as it looked for new store formats to meet its customers’ needs. But Ikea says the costly seven-floor shop has become consistently loss-making at a time when visitor numbers are falling and local shoppers prefer to buy online or in retail parks.
It says it has tried to build sales and visitor number and has looked at downsizing or reconfiguring the store but says the nature of the site means this is not realistic. It will now consult with its 352 members of staff about the closure, and says that it aims to keep as many people as possible within Ikea or support them to find new jobs where that is not possible.
Ikea says it will look at alternative ways for its Coventry shoppers to buy from it, including new collection points where shoppers can order online and collect in convenient places around the city. The nearest branches of Ikea are in Nottingham, Milton Keynes, and Birmingham.
Peter Jelkeby, country retail manager and chief sustainability officer for Ikea UK and Ireland, said the store closure decision had not been easy to make.
“Although this isn’t an easy decision, this is the right decision for the long-term success of Ikea in the UK,” he said. “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 retailer says that it remains committed to the UK. More recent examples of new store formats include its openings of a sustainable store in Greenwich and two ’customer-centric’ planning studios in London. It also intends to open its first small-format city store in the Hammersmith shopping centre that Ingka Centres, part of the Ikea parent company, bought earlier this year.
Image courtesy of Ikea