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Ikea reveals plans to shutter first UK store, 352 jobs at risk

Ikea UK has announced the proposed closure of its Coventry store in summer 2020, putting 352 jobs at risk.

The Coventry store, one of 22 Ikea stores in the UK, was built in 2007 in the city centre one of the earliest examples of the company testing a “new format to meet its customer’s changing needs and expectations”.

However, the retail said that 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”.

The retail giant also claimed the “changing behavior” of customers in the area who prefered to shop in retail parks and online has resulted in visitor numbers being “substantially lower” than expected and continuing to decrease over time – leading to the store making “consistent losses”.

The retail giant said it will now enter a period of consultation with the 352 staff affected by the closure to “discuss the proposals and next steps”.

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.”

He added: “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.”

IKEA remains committed to growth in the UK, 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.

Dave Gill, Usdaw national officer, said: “This is devastating news for staff working at the Coventry store and comes as a shock because this is the first time Ikea have proposed a store closure.

“We will now enter into meaningful consultation talks with the company to interrogate the business case for this proposed closure. Our priorities are to seek redeployment opportunities, minimise compulsory redundancies and secure the best deal we can for our members.”

He added: “In the meantime Usdaw is providing our members with the support, advice and representation they need art this difficult time.”

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