IKEA has announced plans to close its Coventry store in the summer, with 352 jobs at risk.
The closest store for the majority of Herald readers and one of 22 IKEA stores in the UK, it was built in 2007 in the city centre and was one of the first to move away from its traditional format and typical location.
The store was built over seven levels and in a statement released today, the company said this resulted in a significant impact on the operating costs of the store and the shopping experience for customers.
In addition, it said the changing behaviour 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.
It says it 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 but these have not resolved, ‘the fundamental challenges connected to the location and the format of the store’.
It has also looked at options for downsizing or reconfiguring the store, but the nature of the site means this is not a realistic option.
It will now enter a period of consultation with the 352 staff affected by the closure to discuss the proposals and next steps.
Marsha Smith, Area Manager IKEA UK and Ireland, said: “As we go through this process, our priority is to support our co-workers in the Coventry store. Our ambition is to retain as many people as possible within IKEA, and where this isn’t possible, support them to find new employment. We will work closely with our co-workers, impacted suppliers, unions and other trusted partners to ensure all our co-workers receive all the support they need.
“We feel privileged to have been part of the community for the last 12 years and I would like to thank our co-workers, customers and partners, who have contributed throughout this time.”
During the consultation period, the Coventry store will remain open, before the proposed store closure in summer. Upon the proposed closure of the Coventry store, the Birmingham store at Wednesbury will then be the closest option for most Herald readers.
More information on the proposed store closure and introduction of collection points will be announced in due course.