By Daniel Hunter
IKEA has revealed plans to open smaller stores on across the UK, with high street stores a possibility, in a bid to get closer to shoppers.
With just 18 stores in the UK, some customers have expressed their frustration that their nearest flat-pack furniture warehouse is a couple of hours' drive away.
The first store of its kind will open in Norwich in the autumn. Norwich is one are of the UK where not even a two hour drive will get you to the closest IKEA. Shoppers will be able to collect online orders, test products and sample IKEA's famous Swedish meatballs at the cafe.
The smaller stores are being dubbed "order and collection points", which IKEA says will be less than 10% of the size of a normal store.
Gillian Drakeford, head of Ikea in the UK, said: “Our customers are also telling us that with 18 stores in the UK, we are often too far away. Order and collection points give us the opportunity to trial new ways of being more accessible to our customers.
"We will start by testing this new format in Norwich. We already have an established online presence in this market but currently our customers in Norfolk have to travel more than two hours to our Lakeside or Milton Keynes stores to see the product range and get planning and design advice.”