Ikea has announced that it is to close its loss-making Coventry store this summer.
Ikea has blamed the changing behaviour of local consumers who prefer to shop in retail parks and online. The overall store visitor numbers are substantially lower than expected and continuing to decrease over time.
The retailer said it would be entering a period of consultation with the 352 staff affected by the closure, in an attempt either to find them other roles within Ikea or to help them find alternative employment.
There have been a number of initiatives in over the past few years to drive sales and make the store more efficient. However, because of the nature of the site, options like downsizing or reconfiguring the store would not be possible.
In Ikea’s annual report, it reported that Ikea had an 8% rise in UK sales in 2019 to £2.12bn. There was a 27% increase in online sales, while the company opened two new planning studios, which are smaller stores dedicated to kitchen and bedroom design.
Peter Jelkeby, country retail manager and chief sustainability officer for 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.”
The Coventry store was built in 2007 in the city centre and employs 352 staff. Ikea UK intends to retain as many people as possible within the company or support them to find new employment.