Ikea is pushing back the opening date of its new Oxford Street shop, but customers won’t have to wait too long to snap up furniture and meatballs the retailer said as it revealed latest launch plans and a unique version of its signature Frakta bag.
The Swedish retailer unveiled a 128 ft wide and 62 ft tall blue ‘bag’ covering the scaffolding of the site previously home to TopShop’s flagship. That came as new details of the future Ikea branch were given.
A huge renovation project is underway at the grade II listed building which the chain’s investment arm bought.
There will be four floors of offices, all of which will be available to let, and the firm will occupy 82,000 square feet of the retail space.
Ikea added that 150 jobs will be created, and 6,000 products will be displayed in the showroom and market-hall area, of which 3,000 can be take-home that day.
Certain other products, such as larger furniture items can be delivered directly to customers’ homes by electric vehicles from a newly opened distribution centre in Dartford or be picked up from Ikea collection points being rolled out across the capital.
The chain’s arrival in the West End will mark a big boost for Oxford Street as it attempts to bounce back from a footfall slump in the pandemic and big names such as TopShop and Debenhams closing.
But to meet sustainability targets, “while ensuring optimal preservation of the building”, the project timeline has been extended. The new store is now scheduled to open in 2024 by Autumn. Autumn this year had previously been guided.
Ingka Investments is reusing and refurbishing the existing property, removing fossil fuel gas-fired boilers and replacing them with energy-efficient air source heat pumps. The building will be powered by renewable energy.
Peter van der Poel, managing director of Ingka Investments, said: “When refurbishing this over one hundred-year-old historic landmark, it’s important for us as an investor to treat the building with care and to preserve its characteristics and atmosphere. At the same time, we want to upgrade it to today’s standards with the best possible sustainability credentials. To ensure all of this, the extensive refurbishment will take more time than initially anticipated.”
Peter Jelkeby, chief executive and chief sustainability officer of Ikea UK, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be bringing Ikea to the heart of London’s vibrant retail scene on Oxford Street. By having a presence at one of the most iconic shopping destinations in the world, we’re taking a significant step forward in our ongoingjourney to make it easier to shop with Ikea– whenever, wherever and however customers choose.”
Councillor Geoff Barraclough, Westminster City Council’s cabinet member for planning and economic development, said: “The sight of the famous Ikea blue bag on Oxford Street sends a powerful message - that the nation’s favourite high street is back and retailers want to be here.”