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FURNITURE giant Ikea confirmed today its plans to shut one of its largest stores in Britain, with 352 workers expected to lose their jobs.
The Swedish company said that it would close the doors of its Coventry branch, which opened in December 2007, in the first closure of one of its stores in its 33-year history in the country.
Ikea added that the site in the city centre, which cost it £35 million, was too expensive to keep operating and had lost customers to retail parks and online shopping.
In a statement, the company said that it had tried a number of initiatives to keep the store open but “these have not resolved the fundamental challenges connected to the location and the format of the store.”
An attempt by Ikea to downsize or redevelop the site was “not a realistic option.”
Usdaw national officer Dave Gill said that the news was devastating for the Ikea staff working at the Coventry store.
He said: “We will now enter into meaningful consultation talks with the company to interrogate the business case for this proposed closure.
“Our priorities are to seek redeployment opportunities, minimise compulsory redundancies and secure the best deal we can for our members.
“In the meantime, Usdaw is providing our members with the support, advice and representation they need at this difficult time.”
With the high-street suffering in recent years, retailers are calling on the government to overhaul the business rates system, which many have blamed for job losses and store closures.
Chancellor Sajid Javid has promised to hold a review, although the details and scale have not been revealed.
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