Ikea speaks out on future of Sheffield store - after announcing first closure of a big UK outlet
Ikea says it has ‘no plans’ to close its store in Sheffield, following the Swedish flat-pack furniture giant’s decision to shut an outlet in Coventry city centre.
In what will be the chain’s first closure of a big UK branch, the shop in the West Midlands will cease trading this summer. The store has made ‘consistent losses’ since it opened in 2007, bosses said, and visitor numbers were lower than expected.
The move will affect 352 workers. Ikea is trying to find them jobs at other stores.
The firm normally builds shops on sprawling, out-of-town sites, but Coventry’s was constructed over seven levels to save on ground space.
Sheffield’s Ikea, however, is a more traditional offering that opened at Carbrook near Meadowhall in 2017, bringing a long-running saga to an end.
The retailer had been looking for a suitable location in Sheffield for more than a decade, initially considering the old Yorkshire Electricity Board depot off the Parkway.
In 2001, the company submitted proposals but the application was withdrawn in 2004 after council bosses raised major concerns about its potential impact on the city centre and fears about how the Parkway would cope with the extra traffic.
Almost 10 years later, the company revisited its plans to build a Sheffield store – settling on the site of the former Betafence factory on Lock House Road, with an application for planning permission for the £60 million outlet submitted in May 2013.
An Ikea spokesman said: “Today, we have no plans for further store closures. The UK remains a key market and as such we have ambitious growth plans and will continue to invest in stores, fulfilment centres, city centre formats and our digital capabilities to make IKEA even more affordable, convenient and sustainable.
“We also continue to invest in and test new physical touchpoints to learn about and adapt to ever-changing customer needs which we constantly review if they are fit for purpose.
“The reality for Ikea Coventry is that we now know that this was the wrong type of unit for the location as it is neither a high street store nor a more traditional Ikea store.”