Home furnishing retailer IKEA today opened the doors of its new IKEA Reading store, on Pincents Lane, Calcot to lots of excited customers who had been queuing from the early hours awaiting the grand opening.
The company celebrated the grand opening with a traditional tree planting ceremony hosted by Gillian Drakeford, IKEA Ltd UK & Ireland Country Retail Manager; Johanna Heuren, IKEA Reading Store Manager; Nicola Clase, Swedish Ambassador; Roger Croft, Leader of West Berkshire Council; and Quentin Webb, Chairman of West Berkshire Council. Festivities will be continuing throughout July and August 2016, where customers will be able to experience lots of exciting activities and celebrations in store, including product demonstrations, children activities, kitchen workshops and delicious food sampling.
With over 370 passionate new co-workers to welcome people from the Thames Valley, the store is the first to be built in the UK in seven years, and the 19th store in the UK. Recruitment of the new co-workers has been a thoroughly local process, with over 90% of the new team from the Thames Valley area. IKEA has a unique view of talent: all co-workers are regarded as talents and everyone’s contribution is important to the future growth and development of IKEA. The new co-workers have been through an extensive training programme and are all guided by the company vision “to create a better everyday life for the many people”. They will all be occupying a wide range of exciting roles including customer relations, sales, interior design and in the IKEA restaurant.
The new store features over 50 inspirational room sets designed from dedicated home research in in the Thames Valley, along with a restaurant seating over 450 people, a Swedish Food Market and a free car park with around 1000 spaces. The 32,000 square metre store, will provide the full IKEA product range of 9,500 high-quality and great value products including old favourites such as the POÄNG chair and new launches including the VIKTIGT collection, made of natural fibres.
At IKEA, we want to have a positive impact on People and the Planet and the IKEA Reading store has been built to ensure energy and resource efficiency. To date, it is the most sustainable IKEA store in the UK. Sustainable elements in the store include ground source heating, 100% LED lighting, electric vehicle charging points and rainwater harvesting for toilets and cleaning. Furthermore, we are collaborating with our local authorities and we have extended the route of a local bus service, to allow customers to travel to us from local town centres using public transport.
Johanna Heuren, IKEA Reading Store Manager, said: “We are thrilled to finally open our new IKEA Reading store and we are very excited to be providing people from the Thames Valley relevant home furnishing solutions. We are also proud to be joining this wonderful community and our co-workers look forward to welcoming as many people as possible throughout the summer.”
Gillian Drakeford, IKEA UK Country Manager, said: “The opening of the IKEA Reading store marks the start of a significant period of growth for our business. Within the last year we have opened two new Order and Collection Points in Norwich and Aberdeen and we are planning to open an additional three Order and Collection Points later this summer, in Birmingham, London and Dublin. We also have planning permission for a new store in Sheffield and outline planning permission to build stores in Greenwich and Exeter. This all form parts of our plans to make IKEA more accessible to more people and today is an important milestone.”
For further information, please contact:
IKEA Press Office
0845 225 7126
Notes to editors
About IKEA Group Our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people and we offer well designed, functional and affordable, high quality home furnishing, produced with care for people and the environment. The IKEA Group has 330 stores in 28 countries. In addition there are more than 40 stores run by franchisees outside the IKEA Group. The IKEA Group had 771 million visits during FY15 and 1.9 billion people visited IKEA.com