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Ikea Closes, Is John Lewis Next As Midlands Retail Reels?


The news that Ikea is to close its Coventry store — the first big-box Ikea to shut in the UK — suggests grim sales figures are dogging even the most popular and mainstream retailers in the West Midlands.

But speculation sparked by the Financial Times that Birmingham could lose its new 250K SF John Lewis department store adds a new level of concern.

The flagship store at Grand Central Station, New Street, was a bold step back into large-scale development, and the first full-line store to open for four years. It began trading in September 2015.

The store’s future is in doubt as Dame Sharon White takes over as chairman at the retailer, which has struggled to adapt to a price-cutting online marketplace. Although a small 50-store retail portfolio gave the partnership strength, not all the stores are regularly profitable with new openings such as that at Birmingham said to have failed to meet expectations, the Financial Times reported.

"We don't comment on the performance of individual shops," a John Lewis spokeswoman told Bisnow. 

Ikea announced the closure of its 28.5K SF Coventry store, saying the building’s design and changing retail trends had combined to make the venture unprofitable.

The seven-storey building was built to Ikea's instructions in 2007.

"The store was built over seven levels, which resulted in a significant impact on the operating costs of the store and the shopping experience for customers,” IKEA said in a statement, Sky News reported.

"In addition, the changing behaviour of customers in the area, who prefer to shop in retail parks and online, has resulted in visitor numbers being substantially lower than expected and continuing to decrease over time."