IKEA to close in Norwich affecting nearly 40 staff

IKEA in Norwich

IKEA in Norwich is closing. - Credit: Supplied

IKEA UK has announced the proposed closure of its order and collection point in Norwich.

The furniture chain's unit, in the Sweet Briar Road industrial estate, opened in November 2015 as part of the retailer’s smaller-format test programme to better understand how customers want to shop in cities.

The Swedish furniture giants said the store had not met sales or profitability targets, despite investment, and therefore would close in due course.

A team of 39 workers will now enter a period of collective consultation with 'as many people as possible' retained by the business.

A statement was issued: "After careful evaluation, IKEA is proposing to close the unit this summer and will now enter a period of collective consultation with the 39 co-workers affected.

"IKEA hopes to retain as many people as possible within the IKEA business and, where this isn’t possible, support them in finding new employment."

Marsha Smith, area manager for Midlands and East Anglia, added: “We are incredibly thankful to our co-workers at the IKEA Norwich order and collection point who have contributed enormously over the last few years, and our hope is that as many as possible will continue their career journey with us."

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She said: "IKEA remains committed to growth in the UK and continues to test and explore how best to meet its customers’ needs in a fast-changing retail environment."

Joshua Bamfield Norwich

Retail analyst Joshua Bamfield - Credit: Archant

Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre of Retail Research in Norwich, said: "IKEA had the idea of putting smaller units inside cities as a strategy because of the difficulty in getting planning permission to build large stores.

"The IKEA store in Norwich wasn't just a pick-up point but did have some items on show but I think perhaps the location wasn't right. There's not much passing trade at the Sweetbriar Industrial Estate so I think it was more that.

"If you think what retail might look like in five years time, a collection point like IKEA, perhaps next to a big car park, is what you would suggest. IKEA is a good brand but like everyone, doesn't get it right all the time."

The exact closure date is yet to be announced.