// Ikea’s brand new store in Greenwich opens today
// It’s the first full-sized Ikea store to open in London in 14 years; 22nd for the UK
// 500 new jobs created
// Ikea bills it as its most environmentally sustainable store yet
Ikea’s first full-sized big-box format store in London in 14 years has finally opened.
The new Greenwich store in the city’s south-east – which also marks the Swedish furniture retailer’s 22nd full-sized store in the UK, is being billed as Ikea’s most environmentally sustainable store yet.
Located in Millennium Way Retail Park, Ikea said the 344,445sq ft store has created up to 500 new job opportunities across core retail departments as well as the crèche, restaurant, bistro and Swedish food market.
The retailer added that the new Greenwich branch forms part of its ongoing city-centre approach in London as it responds to the growth of urban living, the shift to a circular economy and changes to the way people live and shop.
It features green spaces, a roof garden, flexible work areas and workshops, a roof pavilion and a Learning Lab where customers can learn how to prolong the life of products, grow food, upcycle and make their homes sustainable.
Targeting a BREEAM Excellent accreditation, renewable materials were used for the construction of the store, which incorporates multiple green technologies including photovoltaic panels, rainwater harvesting and grey water treatment to reduce water consumption by 50 per cent.
The store aims to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy and the interior has lots of natural light, reducing a dependence on electricity for artificial lighting.
The new store opening comes just a day after it was revealed that Ikea’s UK country retail manager has been transferred to the other side of the Atlantic to head up the retailer’s US retail operations.
Javier Quinones is slated to begin in the new role on March 1 – just eight months after he was promoted to replace former UK boss Gillian Drakeford, who was appointed retail system manager at Ikea’s parent company Inter Ikea Systems.
Meanwhile, customers began queuing as early as 6am for the Greenwich store store opening, which took place at 10am after a ribbon cutting ceremony led by store manager Helen Aylett, Ikea country sustainability manager Hege Sæbjørnsen, and Claire Pritchard, chief executive of local partner Greenwich Cooperative Development Agency.
“Ikea Greenwich aims to take sustainability to the next level, not just in its design and architecture, but by inspiring and enabling Londoners to live a more sustainable life at home through our products, workshops and activities,” Aylett said.
To capitalise on the store’s close proximity to public transport facilities, Ikea said that for 10 weeks from today’s official opening, there will be a special offer on home delivery for people living within 40 minutes commute of the Greenwich branch.
“We know that choice, convenience, value and speed are key, and most people like to go shopping without the hassle of having to get everything back home,” Aylett said.
Sæbjørnsen added: “Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at Ikea and moving to a circular economy is essential if we are to continue to meet people’s needs and dreams while staying within the limits of the planet.
“In partnership with our customers and the communities around our stores, we want to be a positive force for change and make a significant difference, both today and for generations to come.”
In addition to Ikea Greenwich and existing full-sized London stores in Wembley, Tottenham and Croydon, Ikea opened a smaller-format Planning Studio on Tottenham Court Road in October and recently announced plans to open another one in Bromley in spring 2019.