75 years ago, SCC Member and Patron IKEA was established as a small, mail-order business in southern Sweden by Ingvar Kamprad. Since then, IKEA has grown into the world’s largest home furnishing retailer, defining and redefining the home furnishings market, including during its 30 years trading in the UK.
When it opens its doors on 7 February, Greenwich will be IKEA UK’s leading sustainable store, having been designed and built to the highest achievable sustainability rating and incorporating a range of technologies, such as solar power, LED lighting, rainwater harvesting, and maximising renewable electricity.
There will also be a range of spaces and features to help Londoners live a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle, as well as creating a new hub, including the roof-top garden and pavilion, where the local community can meet and connect.
Greenwich will be the first full-sized IKEA store to open in London in 14 years and will be the 22nd large store to open in the UK. Last year IKEA opened stores in Sheffield and Exeter.
Retail and the way people live is transforming and cities like London present IKEA with lots of new opportunities. IKEA’s response is to create a new world of IKEA in city centres, making IKEA even more accessible, including to people who often have less time to visit our stores. In the UK, this approach will see us trial and test a number of new IKEA formats in city centre locations, beginning in London. Last October we opened the first of these, the IKEA Planning Studio on Tottenham Court Road. A second outlet, in Bromley is scheduled to open in spring 2019. Both units offer a personalised service with a focus on bedrooms and kitchens.
IKEA also recognises that responsible companies are becoming the first choice for many consumers, ensuring that people live within the limits of one planet. Sustainability sits at the heart of IKEA’s business and through the sustainability strategy, IKEA is committed to having a positive impact on people and the planet.
IKEA UK’s first Learning Lab will be a dedicated space where customers and IKEA can develop the skills to upcycle, repair, repurpose and personalise their products, prolonging their life and supporting the move to a circular economy.
500 co-workers will work in the Greenwich store, all paid the London Living Wage and providing great customer experience and home furnishing experience. IKEA is a values-driven organisation, with a culture rooted in its Swedish heritage. The employees are the embodiment of these values and are eager to meet and interact with the local community when the store opens.
Greenwich will be a radical step-change for IKEA, creating a place where people can meet, share, learn and shop, while reflecting our bold commitments to help safeguard the world we all share. This in turn aims to ensure that IKEA lives up to their business promise - to create a better everyday life for the many people.
WORDS: MATT MAGUIRE, PUBLIC AFFAIRS MANAGER, IKEA UK AND IRELAND
This article was originally published in the February 2019 issue of our Member magazine, The LINK. Read the full magazine here.