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IKEA will close first major UK store in 33 years amid sales losses

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The furniture and homewares giant will look to close its Coventry store amid ‘consistent’ losses, days after the UK officially split from the European Union.

Furniture and homewares giant IKEA will close one of its large-scale United Kingdom stores for the first time in the company's 33 years in the country.

IKEA's Coventry store, located about 140km north-west of London, will be closed within six months after a "consistent" shortage of customers and sales losses, a spokesperson for the Swedish company told 9News.com.au.

"The changing behaviour of customer 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," a statement said.

"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's Coventry store is a seven-level site that employs 352 staff members, who will now enter a consultation period with the company in an attempt to relocate them within the business or find them new jobs.

Peter Jelkeby, IKEA UK and Ireland's country retail manager, told 9News.com.au closing the store "has not been an easy decision".

"This is the right decision for the long-term success of IKEA in the UK," he said in a statement.

"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."

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The Coventry store is one of 22 sites IKEA manages around the UK, including in major city centres such as London, Nottingham, and Birmingham.

The move also comes as the business and trade future of the UK remains uncertain, days after the nation officially split from the European Union.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/world/ikea-uk-store-closure-coventry-sales-customers-losses-retail-news-europe-world/a3a0f9a6-2dff-41a6-be25-1c3ddc5dcceb

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