IKEA opened its 19th store in the UK yesterday (Thursday July 14), in the Berkshire town of Reading.
The 32,000sq m shop on Pincents Lane in Calcot, which employs 370 staff, is the first to be built in the UK in seven years.
The branch features 50 new room sets for each area of the home designed from dedicated home research in the local Thames Valley area, along with a restaurant seating over 450 people, a Swedish Food Market and a free car park with around 1,000 spaces. It will provide the full IKEA product range of 9,500 products.
To date, the Reading outlet is the most sustainable IKEA store in the UK. Sustainable elements include ground source heating, 100% LED lighting, electric vehicle charging points and rainwater harvesting for toilets and cleaning.
The retailer is also collaborating with the local authorities and has extended the route of a local bus service, to allow customers to travel from local town centres using public transport.
The Swedish home furnishing giant celebrated the opening with a traditional tree planting ceremony hosted by Gillian Drakeford, IKEA UK & Ireland country retail manager; Johanna Heuren, IKEA Reading store manager; Nicola Clase, Swedish Ambassador; Roger Croft, leader of West Berkshire Council; and Quentin Webb, chairman of West Berkshire Council.
Festivities will be continuing throughout July and August, with customers able to experience lots of activities and celebrations in-store, including product demonstrations, children’s activities, kitchen workshops and food sampling.
Gillian Drakeford said: “The opening of the IKEA Reading store marks the start of a significant period of growth for our business.
“Within the last year, we’ve opened two new Order and Collection Points in Norwich and Aberdeen and we’re planning to open an additional three Order and Collection Points later this summer in Birmingham, London and Dublin.
“We also have planning permission for a new store in Sheffield and outline planning permission to build stores in Greenwich and Exeter. This all forms part of our plan to make IKEA more accessible to more people.”