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Ikea eyes Exeter site for new superstore

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: September 27, 2012

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STORE giant Ikea is identifying sites in Exeter to create a major new outlet in the city, the Echo can reveal.

It is refusing to confirm where it wants to build the store and when it would open.

But city council leaders have welcomed its growing interest in the city.

And business representatives said the store would provide a major jobs boost for Exeter.

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A spokeswoman for Ikea told the Echo it had "nothing to confirm at this point in time" about the exact location of a site in Exeter.

But she added: "Ikea has been identifying sites around the country for potential stores – including the area of Exeter."

Councillor Pete Edwards, leader of Exeter City Council, said: "It would be great news for Exeter if Ikea were to come to the city. I know there are many people who would love to see an Ikea store here, and the arrival of such a popular retailer would be yet further evidence that Exeter is bucking the trend in this recession.

"With John Lewis about to open in the city centre next month Exeter will become the place to shop in the South West, and the arrival of Ikea would just further underline that."

Derek Phillips, vice-president of the Exeter Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the prospect of many new jobs for the city if Ikea comes to Exeter.

Mr Phillips said: "Any increase in jobs for Exeter is very good news. Ikea will look for a site close to the motorway as people tend to go to Ikea and then go home so it will not have the same effect for the other local retailers that John Lewis will in bringing people into the city centre.

"However, Ikea would be a great addition to Exeter and would create several hundred jobs I would think."

Ikea was locked in discussions with the city council in the summer of 2001, but the plans failed to progress because the retailer was looking for a site of between 10 and 20 acres which, at that time, the city council was unable to identify.

The spokeswoman for Ikea said another large space would be required for a move to the city.

She said: "On average, Ikea stores are approximately 20,000 to 40,000 square metres. This means most sites capable of accommodating an Ikea store are naturally based out of city centres.

"Decades of retailing experience, worldwide, have proven that Ikea stores need to be given ample space to present the 9,500 home furnishing products across the various areas of the home to meet the needs of Ikea visitors."

Ikea was launched 70 years ago in a small farming village in Sweden. It has grown to become one of the biggest home furnishing retailers in the world with more than 150 stores in 29 countries. The company opened its first UK store in 1987.

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  • natalie1966  |  September 28 2012, 1:59AM

    I would love to see ikea come to exeter i have just recently moved into a new flat & everything is dated so everytime i want to get something new i drive up to ikea in southampton it would be a great boost for the city in jobs & in visters natalie rogers

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  • Micklow  |  September 28 2012, 12:19AM

    Coventry has the first U.K. city centre IKEA store. It covers 5 floors with a ground floor car park within the bulilding. Their Milton Keynes store is situated next to a large ASDA store just off the A5 to the south of the main shopping area. (Milton Keynes styles itself as a city, but is not a city). I wish you well as you welcome this iconic brand to your city.

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  • Exeter Planning  |  September 27 2012, 10:15PM

    If this happens it will be great for Exeter. IKEA is one of those places people will drive miles for (I know people in West Cornwall who make an IKEA run to Bristol). The catchment population and area needed to support an IKEA will mean that there is only room for one west of Bristol, so let's hope it's here. By the necessary size of an IKEA and the fact that people will almost without exception need to drive to it (you can't take your new bed home on the bus even if it is flat packed!) it will need good motorway access (Matford sounds good to me). It is said that people travel to IKEA and then go home so it won't do anything for the City Centre. My answer to that is to market a trip to IKEA as part of a day in Exeter along the lines of "After you've been to IKEA jump on the Park and Ride bus and enjoy everything else Exeter has to offer (history, cathedral, quayside, award winning museum - and shops)". I think that if people are making a special journey to Exeter it wouldn't be that hard to sell IKEA as part of a larger day out, it just takes some marketing.

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  • exebomb  |  September 27 2012, 12:35PM

    Would love to see ikea here especially if it is not in the city centre as its a good oppertunity brighten up somewhere that needs a bit of development

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  • Martins Cleaning Services Ltd  |  September 27 2012, 11:30AM

    I would love to see IKEA come to Exeter, it has been something I have been waiting for years! Bristol is a long way from Exeter and seemed to be the nearest location. Office furniture and home furnishings are affordable at IKEA and look clean and represent clean home living. This will be another great step for the development of Exeter Devon.

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