A former senior executive at Swedish home improvement retailer Clas Ohlson has been appointed Ikea’s new country manager for UK and Ireland.
Peter Jelkeby (pictured), who previously worked for Ikea in a number of different senior roles, will replace Javier Quiñones, who left at the end of March to head up IKEA USA’s retail operations.
“Peter will continue to strengthen Ikea’s position as the number one home furnishing retailer in the UK and Ireland and will lead the ongoing transformation of the Ikea business, at a challenging time for the retail industry,” the firm said.
Jelkeby, who had worked Clas Ohlson for nine years, including as acting chief executive, said he was “delighted” to return to Ikea “at such a significant point” in its history, as the business undergoes a major transformation from a big-box out-of-town shed to a more customer-centric approach, focusing on mini-high-street KBB showrooms, click-and-collect and e-commerce.
He added: “Building on many years of solid growth, we are responding to the changing needs of our customers to secure an Ikea that is affordable, reaches more people, delivers excellent customer experience and is truly people and planet positive.
“And while Ikea continues to evolve, our vision, to create a better everyday life for everyone across the UK and Ireland, continues to be at the heart of everything we do. Our co-workers, our stores, our product range and home furnishing expertise are fundamental to our continued growth in the market.”
Swedish-born Jelkeby had worked for Ikea for more than 20 years in roles in Sweden, Russia, Vietnam and the UK and Ireland. These included store manager at Ikea Lakeside and sales and communications manager and deputy retail manager at Ikea UK and Ireland.
Ikea said: “Peter joins Ikea UK and Ireland during a period of strong investment in improving the customer experience in a fast-changing retail environment.”
Ikea has opened two KBB planning studios in central London and in Bromley and is spending a huge amount on plans to change its business model.
Swedish retail chain Clas Ohlson, which sells hardware, homeware and electrical goods, said last December it would close all but one of its UK stores as well as its store network in Germany in an effort to stem a rapid decline in earnings.