New Ikea stores to bring 1,450 jobs

Author: By Nigel Cope, City Editor

Ikea, the Swedish furniture retailer, is to open two new stores by 2003, with a distribution centre planned for Peterborough.

The openings, in Sheffield and Southampton, will create 1,450 jobs in Britain and are part of a £100m expansion, announced in June, to create more than 10,000 new jobs in the UK over 10 years. The total cost of the expansion will be around £700m.

A new Cardiff store is also expected to open the same year. Ikea already has 10 stores in Britain, with the 11th scheduled for Glasgow this autumn, which is expected to create 600 jobs.

The company said the new stores would cut down on queues and traffic congestion that plague the vicinities of its existing outlets. It said that last year 5 million customers travelled to stores in Leeds and Nottingham from Sheffield to shop at Ikea. The retailer has been criticised for its long queues at checkouts and in its car parks. The company has said it is a victim of its own success.

The Secretary of State for Employment, David Blunkett, welcomed the news. He said: “Ikea’s huge popularity in this country is bringing great benefits for the UK jobs market.”

Ikea has 141 stores in 22 countries and last year recorded total sales of £5bn. UK turnover was £584m.

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