Ikea is planning to close one of its six London stores with a potential loss of 450 jobs as the furniture retailer moves online and to High Street locations.
The Swedish retailer is to close a store in north London’s Tottenham later this year, 17 years after its opening sparked a riot, with 1,000 cars lined up on the first day and six shoppers taken to hospital.
The planned closure comes just weeks after the opening of a new kind of High Street outlet in Hammersmith, west London, and a warehouse in Dartford, Kent, in February that would enable home delivery within 24 hours across the capital. ,
It is preparing to open a store in Topshop’s former flagship on Oxford Circus in central London in the fall of 2023 as part of a £1bn investment in the capital over the next three years.
Ikea said it is adapting to “changing shopping practices” and that more than half of its sales are now online.
The retailer has previously closed only one large store in the UK – in Coventry in 2020. It has tested and closed smaller High Street outlets, including Tottenham Court Road in central London.
The latest closures are another sign of difficulties for shops in high streets, retail parks and shopping centers, leaving about 8,000 more outlets empty last year, according to analysts Local Data Company.
The pandemic has accelerated the switch to home shopping amid concerns about the transmission of COVID-19 and a series of government-enforced lockdowns at physical stores to control the spread of the virus.
Ikea said the switch to online shopping and redevelopment of the area where the Tottenham store is located prompted it to “assess the site’s long-term viability”.
The company said it was conducting a collective consultation with 450 employees affected by its plan to close the store and was aiming to retain as many people as possible, with 600 vacancies elsewhere in London.
Peter Jelkeby, Ikea’s UK and Irish business retail manager, said: “Caring for our co-workers is our top priority and we will lead with respect and compassion throughout the process. The proposal to close the Tottenham store was not taken lightly But we believe it is the right thing to do for our customers and business as we strengthen our position for the future.
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