Ikea, the Swedish furniture giant, has not ruled out the possibility of opening a full-sized store in Cork in the near future. This comes as the company continues to invest in expanding its presence in Ireland. “The dream is that we will have more full-sized stores like the one in Ballymun,” said Ms Smith, an Ikea spokesperson.
Recently, Ikea has been ramping up its investment into Ireland, with plans to open a retail order point in Cork this spring. This will allow people to plan their kitchens and bedrooms and then order what they need. The company is also building a new warehouse in Dublin, which will be its first customer distribution centre (CDC) in the Republic.
The warehouse will be based in Greenogue Logistics Park in Dublin, which Ikea parent company Ingka Investments acquired from Palm Capital for an undisclosed sum. The new facility is expected to reduce delivery lead times by more than half and create around 120 jobs across warehousing, logistics, and administration by the time it becomes fully operational in early 2024. The CDC will allow the company to hold extra stock in Ireland rather than importing it from the UK or Belgium, and will help to reduce delivery times to homes across the island.
“We want people to enjoy the Ikea experience no matter where they choose to engage with us, whether through our full-size store, plan and order points, or online,” said Jakob Bertilsson, country customer fulfilment manager at Ikea UK and Ireland. This new warehouse reflects Ikea’s recent venture into the green energy market, as it will have rainwater-harvesting features and roof-based solar panels. Ingka Investments also recently bought a stake in a planned Australian wind farm as it seeks long-term access to renewable energy.
These announcements signal Ikea’s renewed expansion ambitions for Ireland, as it opened its first store in the Republic in 2009. Since then, the flatpack furniture seller has opened two small collection points, one in Dublin and another in Kildare. “We take our time to get into anything,” said Ms Smith.
Meanwhile, rival Jysk, a Danish home furniture chain, has been growing rapidly across Ireland and plans to open nine new stores this year. The two retailers continue to pursue this growth despite an ongoing cost-of-living crisis putting pressure on consumers’ pockets.
Ikea is not immune to recent financial pressures either, as last year it increased prices to offset lower volumes and rising purchasing and transport costs. In its annual trading update for 2022, Ikea’s outlook for this year was cautious due to an “uncertain environment”. Ingka Group reported a 9% rise in annual operating profit last year following the price hikes. The world’s biggest furniture retailer said it will remain “prudent and cost conscious” around investments planned for this year.