IKEA’S Coventry store is to remain closed while others re-open after the Covid-19 shutdown.
The seven-storey city centre store had already been earmarked for permanent closure later this year, before the coronavirus pandemic struck, with the company blaming high costs.
The multi-national furniture company said in a statement today: “Following the announcement in February this year that IKEA would close its Coventry store in summer 2020, the retailer has confirmed it will not reopen to customers, as other stores across England and Northern Ireland begin to reopen from 1st June.”
Marsha Smith, Area Manager IKEA UK and Ireland said, “The decision not to reopen our Coventry store to customers and to close it permanently in the summer, has not been an easy one. It has been an honour to be part of this community and we would like to thank our co-workers for their enormous contribution, and our loyal customers for their support, over the last 12 years.
“People are at the heart of the IKEA business, so our main priority through this process has been and remains to support our co-workers in the Coventry store and retain as many people as possible within IKEA.
“We are continuing to work with unions, specialist support agencies and directly with organisations that are currently recruiting to ensure that all of our co-workers have the right support, retraining and the best opportunity of finding a new job.”
IKEA’s Coventry store, one of 22 IKEA stores in the UK, was built in 2007 in the city centre. The company says it was one of the retailer’s earliest examples of testing a new format to meet its customer’s changing needs and expectations.
IKEA added: “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. In addition, the changing behavior of customers in the area who prefer to shop in retail parks and online has resulted in visitor numbers being substantially lower than expected and continuing to decrease over time. These factors have led to the store making consistent losses.
“The retailer has tried a number of initiatives over the years to drive sales growth and make the store more cost efficient, such as moving various business operations to the site, however, these have not resolved the fundamental challenges connected to the location and the format of the store. IKEA has also looked at options for downsizing or reconfiguring the store, but the nature of the site means this is not a realistic option.
“IKEA has always maintained an ambition to retain as many co-workers as possible. A number of co-workers have already successfully applied for new roles and others remain in a recruitment process. IKEA will continue to work with unions, specialist support agencies and directly with organisations that are currently recruiting to support co-workers in finding new employment.
“Co-workers will shortly return to work in the store, in a safe manner, as preparations take place for the permanent closure of the unit.
“Once stores reopen on the 1st June, customers’ can still shop with us at IKEA Birmingham, IKEA Milton Keynes and IKEA Nottingham, or online.”