Ikea to cut 350 UK jobs over the next two years as part of ‘digitisation’ plan

New town centre stores are the way forward says Ikea
New town centre stores are the way forward says Ikea

Ikea, which has a hugely popular store in Milton Keynes, has said 350 jobs in the UK “may be made redundant during the next two years” as part of an international restructuring process.

While the flat-pack furniture manufacturer has plans to continue its expansion in the UK, hundreds of jobs are under threat, an announcement on Wednesday revealed.

Ikea has announced job losses

Ikea has announced job losses

The company told our sister paper The i: “Ikea Greenwich will open its doors in spring 2019, creating 500 new jobs.

“However, as part of this next phase of the transformation it is anticipated 350 jobs out the 12,100 UK and Ireland roles may be made redundant during the next two years.”

‘Digitisation’

The move comes as Ikea’s parent company, the Ingka Group, announced 7,500 jobs may be made redundant, out of a total of 160,000 worldwide.

Job losses look set to come alongside other roles being created as part of a process to “simplify” the brand and improve its “digital capabilities”.

Ikea UK and Ireland retail manager Javier Quinones said: “We are in fast-changing retail environment and while we continue to grow, we are evaluating how we can remain relevant in the eyes of consumers – now and in the future.

“We recently announced our City Centre Approach starting with London and we will continue to invest in being more convenient through our enhanced service offer and digitialisation.

“While the opportunities ahead of us are exciting, we know that some of the changes won’t always be easy and in some cases, we will have to make difficult decisions.”

The Sweden-based company said it is investing “significantly” in convenience shops. In 2018, two new stores opened in Sheffield and Exeter, and a planning studio launched on Tottenham Court Road in London.

Town centres

Ikea seems to be looking at different means of distribution as well as increasing online delivery, perhaps slowing on its classic larger store experience.

Delivery is an area of growth and a parcel unit will also soon open in London.

CEO Jesper Brodin said in an announcement: “As customer behaviours change rapidly, we are investing and developing our business to meet their needs in better and new ways.

“We will put greater emphasis on making our existing stores even better and taking the opportunity to renew and reinvent our business in a way that is inspired by our history, culture and values.

“Our values guide our work and build our inclusive, open and honest culture. It’s all based on a spirit of togetherness and enthusiasm and we will continue to transform with that spirit.”

It is not yet clear what the job losses mean, if anything, for MK's Ikea store on Bletcham Way near Stadium:MK.