Inside Ikea’s first city-centre shop in London

Swedish brand sets up shop in Hammersmith as part of $1.3 billion investment in UK capital over three years

Ikea opened its first small store in the UK today, and hopes Londoners will visit more often, encouraged by its convenient high street location.

Inside the recently rebranded Livat shopping mall in Hammersmith, west London, a steady stream of excited shoppers made their way past the famous yellow and blue logo towards the Swedish brand’s home fixtures.

At a quarter of the size of a typical store and the first of its kind on a British high street, it is far smaller than the warehouse-sized locales that Ikea regulars are used to.

Customers won’t be able to walk out with a bed, sofa or Billy bookcase, but they can see examples.

Nevertheless, among the 1,800 products available in store to take away are staples such as candles, picture frames and plant pots of various colours and sizes. Plus, the meatballs.

A further 4,000 items are on display to provide “life at home inspiration” to Londoners who, after seeing how a desk or kitchen unit looks and feels like in real life, can presumably click with greater comfort when they proceed to order online for delivery. In-store planning is also available.

The new IKEA store in Hammersmith, London. Layla Maghribi / The National

Amelya, one of the dozens of shop assistants seen on the floor told The National the team was “really excited” that the concept had come to the UK.

“It’s been going really well and we have had great feedback from customers who like how quick and easy the process is, especially with the self-service check-outs and that the store is much closer to where they live,” she said.

Mona, who lives in Hammersmith, said she welcomed the convenience of having an Ikea nearby where she could buy everything she needs.

“The only thing is that there aren’t any arrows on the floor, so I have been going around in circles a little bit,” the shopper said.

The doors to IKEA UK's first small store in the UK open in Hammersmith, London. Photo: IKEA

Shop regulars will still easily find their way to Ikea’s staples, including its meatballs and Daim chocolate bars. Indeed, the new ‘Swedish Deli’ will open one hour earlier than the store itself to allow those in the local community, and busy commuters, to “grab and go”.

“I’m so happy it’s here,” says Channelle, who lives moments away from the store. “I used to live in Sweden for 17 years, so it’s familiar and I love their products. Plus, they have great prices.”

The Hammersmith launch is part of the famous Swedish retailer’s £1 billion ($1.3 billion) investment into the capital over the next three years and marks a new “long-term transformation” to become more convenient and accessible to customers.

UK and Ireland boss Peter Jelkeby said that if the store proved successful, the format rolled out to other UK cities. It already exists in other countries, including the UAE.

“You should be able to shop with Ikea physically, without a car. This was the perfect location for that. You can take public transport, you can bike. You don’t need a car.

Mr Jelkeby said customers typically visit an Ikea store only a handful of times a year and the smaller format should help to increase the frequency of trips.

“As one of the most innovative and exciting markets in the world for retail and e-commerce, we will step up our omnichannel investments in London with a simple goal: to become more customer-centric, so that people can shop with us for a better, more sustainable life at home, whenever, wherever and however they choose.”

Another highly anticipated Ikea opening will come next year when the brand sets up shop on London’s Oxford Street.

A distribution centre is set to open in Dartford, near the UK capital, at the end of this year.

Room displays can still be found at IKEA UK's first small store in the UK, even if most of the products are order only. IKEA
Updated: February 24, 2022, 5:06 PM
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