News that housewares and homewares stockist Ikea is closing its Coventry store (announced last week) has prompted reflection on changing consumer habits and the rise of experiential in-store shopping.
Ikea says the city store has made constant losses. Due to location and available land, the store was built over seven levels, ‘which resulted in a significant impact on the operating costs of the store and the shopping experience for customers,’ explains the retailer.
Ikea also attributes the ‘changing behaviour of customers in the area who prefer to shop in retail parks and online’ –which has meant dwindling visitor numbers for the store.
Retail expert Patrick O’Brien from GlobalData’s retail research director questions the relevance of the ‘Ikea way’ – ‘you walk this way round the maze, you pick it up yourself, you put it together yourself.’ He observes that Ikea is now evolving: “Things have moved on in UK retail now, it’s all about how best to serve the customer, and Ikea has had to adapt and change its model.”
Consumers commenting on CoventryLive’s Facebook page expressed a range of emotions including shock at loosing another retail outlet in the city. Some posted the mantra: ‘Use it or lose it’ while another pointed out a shortcoming: ‘If it was easier to get in and out if you just need something quick it would be a lot better.’
Quoted in The Coventy Telegraph, George Charles, spokesperson for MoneySavingHeroes.co.uk, acknowledged: “Going to Ikea is often seen as a novel day out, but the attitude of the modern consumer is changing; people want speed and convenience, and having to walk around a huge Ikea store can deter people.”
He added: “We are in a lazy era, where consumers want to be spoon fed and have everything ready on a plate for them, thus the appeal of online shopping.”
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