Furniture giant Ikea is to open a smaller store in Reading than it originally planned as it downsizes to reflect changing shopping habits.
Ikea had initially submitted plans for a three floor 409,000 sq ft store but is amending the proposal to cut the shop size to 335,000 sq ft over two levels.
The move reflects the growth of online shopping and also consumers’ desire to shop more conveniently. There is no scheduled opening date for the store currently but it is expected to be Ikea’s next store opening in the UK.
Roger Cooper project manager at Ikea Calcot (Reading), told Retail Week: “In our ever changing retail environment we want to provide our customers with a simple, convenient and enjoyable shopping experience.
“As such, we have reviewed the design and layout for Ikea Calcot, and have decided that a slightly smaller store, re-planned with shopping ease in mind, will offer our customers a better in-store experience.
“We are in the process of improving the way all of our channels work together in a multichannel environment, however we still believe that the physical will be just as important as the digital in the future and that the store is an essential part of the total brand experience. We want to ensure we have what customers’ want, when they want it and how they want it.”
He added: “The updated plans will still offer the full Ikea product range and the same services you can expect in any of our UK stores. We are now working with West Berkshire Council on the amendment to our current planning consent, which we hope to submit in the Autumn.”
In January this year, existing tenants – including a former nightclub and bowling alley – on Pincents Lane Retail Park, Calcot vacated and demolition work began to prepare the site for construction.
While the smaller Reading store does not represent a new format for Ikea, the retailer is testing new concepts globally; it is trialling a smaller urban format store in Hamburg, named Ikea Citystore, covering 194,000 sq ft.