450 jobs put at risk by Swedish furniture shop’s closure, reports James Cracknell
Ikea has announced it intends to close its shop in Edmonton – citing Enfield Council’s flagship Meridian Water redevelopment as part of the reason.
The large retail store near the North Circular employs 450 people and was first opened 17 years ago, but bosses at the Swedish furniture company said the closure was prompted by a sharp rise in online sales and a need to “strengthen our position”.
In a statement posted on its website, Ikea also referenced Meridian Water, the council’s £6billion regeneration of the former Lea Valley industrial zone, where between 5,000 and 10,000 homes are due to be built over 25 years.
The statement said: “The proposal to close the Tottenham store follows an extensive assessment of Ikea UK’s presence in London in line with changing shopping behaviours. Last year, online represented almost half of the retailers’ total sales and the demand for different services as well as convenient deliveries accelerated.
“This, combined with the redevelopment of the area where the store is located, prompted the retailer to assess the long-term viability of the site.”
Only this month the council admitted that half of its 10,000 homes target for Meridian Water would not be built before 2039, with issues surrounding the release of strategic industrial land – something which can only be authorised by London mayor Sadiq Khan.
With Khan reluctant to allow many of the Meridian Water industrial sites to be reclassified for housing, the closure of Ikea could provide a fresh opportunity for the council to acquire the land it needs to meet its target. A previous masterplan for Meridian Water assumed that Ikea would still be operating at the site.
Ikea’s Edmonton shop will remain open until further notice. When it does eventually close, lovers of Swedish flat-pack furniture and meatballs will need to travel to one of the company’s other London shops at Wembley, Croydon, Greenwich or Hammersmith.
Peter Jelkeby, country retail manager for Ikea UK, said: “Taking care of our co-workers is our highest priority and we will lead with respect and compassion throughout the process. The decision to propose closing the Tottenham [Edmonton] store has not been taken lightly but we believe it is the right thing to do for our customers and business as we strengthen our position for the future.
“We will do everything we can to support the co-workers affected and our hope is that as many as possible will continue their career journey with us.”
A council spokesperson said: “Enfield Council is disappointed Ikea has decided to close its branch in the borough but we understand that their business model is changing. We welcome Ikea’s commitment to retaining and relocating within its business as many of its co-workers as possible.
“We recognise this will be a difficult time for all affected co-workers and their families. The council will work with Ikea, trade unions, and other agencies to support our residents who are affected by this decision.
“The Ikea site is an important aspect of the wider Meridian Water project. More immediately, Enfield Council is encouraging Ikea to actively think about a meanwhile use for the site to support our local economy.”
This article was updated to correct the date of Ikea’s opening, which was previously incorrectly stated as being 2012