IKEA, the Swedish furniture manufacturer, is migrating from out of town warehouses to the high street after an 11% increase in sales (to £1.57bn) in the UK. It opened a ‘downsized’ store in Norwich this month and has its eyes set on Aberdeen, Sheffield, Greenwich and Exeter (note: all home to big universities).
This is far from your classic ‘downsizing then disappearing’ act. IKEA is going to open a new superstore in Reading next year, its first for seven years. So if its traditional big barn business model is working so successfully, why change it? Gillian Drakeford, head of IKEA UK, explains, “Customers’ expectations are changing and time and convenience is a lot more important to them. A lot of people don’t have cars and actually getting a Pax wardrobe home on the tube or train is quite difficult.”
MB’s Senior Industrial Designer, Dave Cameron, had this to say, “I see this as an opportunity for a new shopping experience with Ikea’s products – making smaller household objects more accessible to consumers by bringing them on to the high street, while offering digital experiences in store as a shop window to larger items.”
IKEA is also restarting its ‘Brighter Lives for Refugees’ campaign. After the success of 2014, from November 29th to December 19th, the company will donate €1 from every LED light bulb sold to the UN Refugee Agency.
This originally appeared in Moving Brands Wednesday 20151126.
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