Ikea is planning to reopen all 22 of its UK stores in less than two weeks time.
Bosses are formulating plans for how the Swedish flat-pack furniture giant can allow its stores to start trading in the UK after having been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to reports in the Mail.
All UK Ikea outlets have been closed since 20 March as part of the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.
The report suggests the retailer is hoping to re-open on 18 May although the firm has not confirmed the exact date. Due to lockdown rules, the chain is not allowed to re-open yet as it is not considered an ‘essential’ store.
According to the Mail a source said the planning includes how best to tackle hygiene, cleanliness and social distancing in stores once the lockdown has been lifted.
A source told the Mail: “The objective is to open from 18 May, though there is anxiety about how it can be managed.
“Hygiene is paramount and we need to be 100% certain we can clean systematically throughout the day.”
Amid the store closures, customers have still been able to purchase items from Ikea’s website or through the store's app. Ikea has continued to make deliveries and customers can choose a “contact-free” delivery option to maintain social distancing.
During lockdown the car parks at Ikea’s Wembley and Gateshead branches have been converted into coronavirus testing centres. It is not yet known how these will operate alongside the re-opening of stores.
An IKEA spokesperson told Yahoo Finance UK: “For now, all our stores across the UK and Ireland remain closed.
“We are looking forward to welcoming customers back to our stores and will only do so as the situation allows, in line with government guidance.
“As a responsible company we are making extensive plans, and adopting even further enhanced safety measures, so that when we do reopen, our customers and co-workers feel safe and comfortable in our stores. The health and safety of our customers, co-workers and suppliers remains our highest priority.”
The report comes after other DIY retail chains such as B&Q and Homebase re-opened stores during the lockdown with social distancing measures in place.
Several restaurant chains including Burger King, KFC, and Pret A Manger have also begun opening outlets again.