IKEA has announced a number of changes being made to stores as non-essential shops are given the green light to reopen as lockdown restrictions across the UK begin to ease.

The home-furnishing retailer has announced stores across England and Wales will reopen on April 12, along with Click and Collect in Northern Ireland. This follows the reopening of its stores in Scotland on Monday 5th April.

IKEA has said the health and safety of co-workers and customers remains top priority and based on Government guidance it has made extensive plans for its reopening.

Ahead of welcoming customers back once again, IKEA will continue to implement a series of stringent and enhanced safety measures to ensure the safety and comfort of co-workers and customers wanting to shop in-store.

New safety measures in place at IKEA stores

Wiltshire Times: IKEA has released new guidance ahead of stores reopening. (IKEA)IKEA has released new guidance ahead of stores reopening. (IKEA)

On top of the additional safety measures in place, IKEA restaurants will remain closed until May 17th in line with government guidelines. However, Bistros, which operate a contact-free takeaway service will remain open to help sustain hungry shoppers – as will Swedish Food Markets, so that much-loved food items can still be made at home.

Other measures include:

  • On-site temperature checks for co-workers
  • Enhanced social distance guidance and signage throughout
  • A staggered entry system and limited numbers of customers granted entry in store at any one time.
  • Social distance wardens to help customers and ensure everyone is following social distancing measures. 
  • Additional hand sanitiser facilities and more frequent deep cleaning routines for bags, trolleys, bathrooms, rest areas, equipment and touchscreens
  • Face coverings for co-workers and customers  
  • Screens at key areas such as checkouts, service points and customer returns, to enable social distancing
  • In-store planning services to resume with screens and social distancing
  • Cashless payments, by card and contactless, preferred
  • All play areas and the customer restaurant to remain closed

Peter Jelkeby, UK&IE Country Retail Manager and CSO, said: “We’ve always believed that home is the most important place in the world. Over the past year, we've placed more demands on our homes than ever before, needing them to be spaces where we can live, work and play; fulfilling both our physical and emotional needs.

“Knowing that some of these shifts in our lifestyles, such as working from home, will become increasingly permanent over the coming years, our homes will need to become even more versatile and adaptable.

“As such we’re really looking forward to welcoming customers safely back into our stores, inspiring people to live a better and more sustainable everyday through our range of affordable home furnishings.”

Wiltshire Times: IKEA are welcoming back customers across the UK. (IKEA)IKEA are welcoming back customers across the UK. (IKEA)

Change in shopping habits due to pandemic

Despite store closures, the pandemic has also proven to be a catalyst for positive change for the retailer.

To help cater to new shopping behaviours, a number of initiatives were introduced to enable IKEA to meet its customers in more ways than ever before.

The new changes include:

  • The launch of Click and Collect across all stores
  • Rolling out ‘Click and Deliver’ to 4,000 DPD drop off points nationwide
  • The use of stores as local fulfilment and distribution centres, to increase capacity and reduce delivery lead times
  • Remote kitchen, wardrobe and living room storage planning appointments, ensuring customers could still access IKEA’s home furnishing expertise
  • A new remote interior design service offering expert advice and bespoke plans from the comfort of your home from £65 per room
  • A tiered pricing structure for orders based on size and speed of delivery, starting from £2.00