With the infrequent closing of one of its stores, IKEA is expected to shutter a British location as the retailer says the store had a “substantially lower” number of shoppers than first forecast. The Coventry location had regularly notched losses as of its 2007 opening, with customers opting to shop through eCommerce or visit retail parks, The Financial Times reported.
The 352 impacted staff members will enter into consultation with the merchant per FT, and the retailer said it would aim to relocate “as many people as possible” internally. The store will go out of operation in the summer. Peter Jelkeby, country retail manager and chief sustainability officer of the group’s division for the U.K. and Ireland, said per the report, “Although this isn’t an easy decision, this is the right decision for the long-term success of Ikea in the U.K.”
IKEA’s location in Coventry was included in the group’s investigation of different formats for retail, but its seven stories placed the outlet on a larger scale. The retail group had mulled downsizing; however, “the nature of the site [meant this was] not a realistic option.” Its British business registered sales of £2.1 billion in the year to August. The company has 22 locations with the inclusion of Coventry.
In May, the furniture retailer opened its first store in the center of Paris in the Madeleine section of the city. The two-level location was to employ 140 people. The store was also said to host cooking classes as well as workshops on furniture repair or home renovation.
And news recently surfaced that IKEA is now creating megastores in urban areas without parking spaces — beginning with a Vienna, Austria location — as more shoppers are adopting car-free lifestyles.
The strategy complements the fact that given the large size of many of the store’s items, more customers are choosing to have their purchases delivered.