This is what IKEA had to say about the future of its Gateshead branch after company announced first UK store closure in Coventry

Furniture giant IKEA has confirmed it has “no plans” to shut the firm’s Gateshead store following the announcement that its Coventry branch will close this year.

Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 11:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 11:48 pm
The IKEA store in Coventry is set to close later this year. Picture: PA.

IKEA revealed that Coventry store, which opened in 2007 in the city centre, will shut after making “consistent” losses due to a range of contributing factors including operating costs and the impact of online shopping.

The closure plans, which affect 352 workers, will now see a consultation begin with staff.

An IKEA spokesman confirmed on Wednesday, January 5 that there are “no plans” to close the Gateshead branch, which celebrated its 25-year anniversary in 2017, or any other stores in the portfolio.

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IKEA Gateshead opened in 1992.

He said: “Today, we have no plans for further store closures. The UK remains a key market for Ingka Group and as such we have ambitious growth plans and will continue to invest in stores, fulfilment centres, city centre formats and our digital capabilities to make IKEA even more affordable, convenient and sustainable.

“We also continue to invest in and test new physical touchpoints to learn about and adapt to ever changing customer needs which we constantly review if they are fit for purpose.

“The reality for IKEA Coventry is that we now know that this was the wrong type of unit for the location as it is neither a high street store nor a more traditional IKEA store.”

Announcing the Coventry closure, the company said it tried a number of initiatives to keep the store open but "these have not resolved the fundamental challenges connected to the location and the format of the store", which is built over seven levels.

The IKEA store in Coventry opened in Christmas 2007. Picture: PA.

An attempt by IKEA to downsize or redevelop the site was "not a realistic option".

The retailer first entered the UK in 1987, opening a site in Warrington, Cheshire. The Gateshead branch, near to the MetroCentre, welcomed shoppers for the first time in 1992.

It now has 22 stores and is looking at rolling out more city centre locations - but far smaller than the Coventry site.

Retailers are calling on the Government to overhaul the business rates system, with Chancellor Sajid Javid pledging to hold a review.