Ikea sign
Ikea tests small-format stores in the UKReuters

Swedish furniture retailer Ikea is changing its strategy in the UK by launching a new retail format, as it targets higher foot-flow from the high streets.

The company, which operates 18 superstores in the UK, said it will test small-format stores, dubbed "order and collection points", starting in Norwich in the autumn.

"Order and collection points give us the opportunity to trial new ways of being more accessible to our customers," said Gillian Drakeford, Ikea's UK manager.

The smaller outlets will allow customers to touch and test the product range and place and collect orders made online or in the store. Customers will also be able to purchase a limited range of products from the stores, which will also include the company's popular Scandinavian culinary cafes.

Due to the large size, Ikea was struggling to find land for its superstores in prominent locations, and customers were complaining that the stores are too far away.

"We will start by testing this new format in Norwich. We already have an established online presence in this market but currently our customers in Norfolk have to travel more than two hours to our Lakeside or Milton Keynes stores to see the product range and get planning and design advice," Drakeford said.

The move is part of Ikea's worldwide initiative to double sales to about €50bn (£36bn, $56bn) by 2020 via better sales at existing stores and additional stores in existing and new markets.

The company earlier opened similar trial formats in Spain, Norway and Finland.