Ikea will throw open the doors at its new store in Reading later this week for its first big-box store opening in the UK in seven years.
The Swedish furniture retailer’s new store – measuring 345,000 square feet and employing 370 people – opens to the public on Thursday.
The store features a 500-seat restaurant, a crèche with a ball pit and has a 1,000-space car park. It will stock the full Ikea range of 9,500 articles.
Ikea Reading store manager Johanna Heuren said: “I’m so excited I could fly through the roof; it’s wonderful to be more accessible to people in the Thames Valley.
“All 52 room sets in the store are relevant to the needs, dreams, aspirations and frustrations of the local market.”
In addition to Ikea’s traditional room sets are three complete apartments for customers to explore.
In store, and brand new to Ikea, is the so-called Style Island. This allows shoppers to physically piece together a bespoke kitchen, capture an image of the design and take away a print-out to be ordered.
Heuren added that the new store is focused on driving sustainability: “Every light we use and every light that we sell is LED, and all of our cotton is sustainable.
“By 2020, we want to be 100% renewable – producing the same amount of energy, if not more, than we use.”
The big box in Reading takes Ikea’s total store estate to 337 worldwide and 19 in the UK.
Ikea has also been trialling a range of smaller-format stores serving as order and collection points. The furniture giant opened its first of these in Norwich last year and another in Aberdeen earlier this year.
The retailer has unveiled plans to open another three of these – in Dublin, Westfield Stratford City and Birmingham city centre – later this summer.