IKEA has begun construction of its first new UK store in seven years. The store on Pincents Lane, Calcot, will be about 32,000 square metres and house IKEA's entire product range. It will create 350 job opportunities in the Berkshire area across functions such as customer relations, sales, interior design, logistics and the IKEA restaurant.
The IKEA Reading store which is scheduled to open in the summer of 2016 will be the furnishing giant's 19th traditional outlet in the UK.
IKEA Reading store manager, Johanna Heuren said: "We are delighted to officially kick off the development of the new IKEA Reading store as we move closer to bringing IKEA's home furnishing offer to people in the Thames Valley. Over the coming months we will be focused on finding passionate and curious co-workers to join our team and getting to know the local area better to ensure that IKEA meets the needs of both our customers and our community."
The company has invested £4m in improving the surrounding roads and in the creation of a new junction on the A4 that connects to its Calcot IKEA store.
"As the first new store to be built in the UK in seven years, the start of work on the IKEA Reading store is a really important milestone for our expansion plans as we look to make IKEA more accessible to many more people," according to IKEA UK country retail manager, Gillian Drakeford.
The company suggested that it could open smaller UK stores that are more centrally located such as high street shops and order and collection points, apart from the current traditional format of large warehouses that are located outside of city centres.
Councillor Gordon Lundie said: "I am pleased to welcome IKEA to the area and look forward to the store opening next year. IKEA has an impressive commitment to their co-workers and to working with the communities it operates within, and I look forward to working in partnership to ensure that IKEA has a positive impact in Berkshire."
The Swedish company opened its first UK store in Warrington in 1987 and was recently in the news for announcing plans to implement the living wage across its British workforce which according to it would affect half of its 9,000 employees in the UK.