// Ikea announces plans to reopen 19 stores in England & Northern Ireland from June 1
// Stores will include enhanced safety measures such as limited customer numbers and staggered entry & queuing system
// Stores in Scotland and Wales will remain closed, in-line with government guidance
Ikea has announced it will reopen 19 stores across England and Northern Ireland from June 1, after a few other furniture retailers said they would open in time for the bank holiday.
The Swedish homewares and furniture giant said its Scotland and Wales stores will all remain closed for the time being, in line with government guidelines, as will the smaller London Planning Studios and Order & Collection points.
It added that its click-and-collect facilities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will also reopen in a phased approach.
- Ikea opens Croydon essentials store exclusively for vulnerable & NHS staff
- Ikea opens coronavirus test centre for NHS workers
- DFS and Furniture Village to begin reopening handful of stores
In March, Ikea voluntarily closed its stores a few days before the UK Government ordered a nationwide lockdown of all non-essential retailers.
Despite a change in government guidance on May 1 that included homeware on the list of essential retailers in England that could open during the coronavirus lockdown, Ikea decided to remain closed to the general public.
However, British furniture retailers DFS and Furniture Village both revealed they would reopen a handful of stores across England in time for the late May bank holiday.
Dunelm trialled reopening seven stores earlier in the month and has now opened 39 across its 171-strong store estate.
Drawing on its experience of reopening stores safely in a number of countries around the world, Ikea said it would implement a series of enhanced safety measures to protect staff and customers shopping in-store.
These measures include a limiting the number of customers in store at any one time with a staggered entry and queuing system and restricted car parking.
In addition, wardens throughout the stores will help customers find their way round the new one-way system and ensure new social distancing measures are being followed.
Additional hand sanitiser facilities and more frequent deep cleaning routines will also be in place, and cashless payments will be enforced.
However, Ikea said all in-store play areas will remain closed, as will the customer restaurant and all planning services will remain online.
Swedish Food Market will be open though, with the bistro offering a takeaway service.
“We’re looking forward to warmly welcoming customers and co-workers back into our stores from 1st June,” Ikea UK country chief executive Peter Jelkeby said.
“Their health and safety remains our top priority, and that’s why we’ve put in place extensive measures to ensure the safety and comfort of customers and co-workers.
“While the experience might be a little different to before – it’s the same Ikea, with the vision to ‘create a better everyday life for the many people’, and the ambition to inspire people through our brilliant affordable range and home furnishing advice.
“Throughout lockdown, we’ve had the unique privilege of being a part of people’s everyday lives at home, and we’re committed to continuing doing whatever we can to support our customers and co-workers on this next part of the journey we take together.”
Following the news in February this year that Ikea was proposing to close its Coventry store in summer 2020, the retailer confirmed it would not reopen once lockdown is lifted.
In response to the Covid-19 crisis, Ikea has been supporting frontline workers by giving them exclusive access to four in-store Swedish Food Markets.
Ikea also transformed its Gateshead and Wembley car parks into drive-through test centres so NHS staff could be tested for the virus.
The Ikea stores re-opening on June 1 are:
- Norwich (OCP)
- Milton Keynes
- Reading Exeter