In a move that will see meatballs, sofas, lamp shades and other goods available moments from Oxford Circus tube station, a conditional purchase has been agreed by Ingka Investments.
That is the investment arm of Ingka Group, behind Ikea UK & Ireland, and it added that it believes “in the long-term value of the real estate market in London” as it confirmed the property deal.
Part of the vacant space will be used by the Swedish furniture chain, and a new store is planned to open in Autumn 2023.
Peter Jelkeby, country retail manager and chief sustainability officer, Ikea UK & Ireland, told the Evening Standard: “We think this will complement the rest of our London network, and I also think we will complement Oxford Street.”
He said there will be some 5,000 products on display, of which close to 2200 will be goods such as furnishings and accessories that can be taken home on the day. There will also be home delivery available for other items, and design teams available to talk to.
A restaurant where the chain will also sell its famous meatballs alongside other dishes will also be on site, Jelkeby told the Standard.
No more details around the restaurant were given, but it is expected to look different to the ones Ikea shoppers are familiar with.
In a statement, Jelkeby said: “Even though online shopping continues to accelerate at a rapid pace, our physical stores (large and small), will always be an essential part of the Ikea experience.”
There is 239,000 square feet in total for retail and office space at the latest site, alongside the current long-term tenants NikeTown and Vans.
It is much smaller than Ikea’s traditionally larger branches.
The huge West End site was previously home to fashion firm Topshop but the firm’s parent, retail tycoon Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group, entered administration late last year. The shop once welcomed 400,000 customers through its doors each week.
Following the collapse of Arcadia, some members of KPMG’s restructuring practice were appointed joint administrators to a company that is a property-owning subsidiary of Arcadia Group, and holds the long leasehold interest in the Topshop and Topman Oxford Street store.
That division of KPMG has since been sold and is now known as Interpath Advisory.
Ed Boyle, managing director at Interpath Advisory said: “We are delighted to have exchanged contracts on this iconic property, which sits at the cornerstone of London’s principal retail district. As shoppers, workers and tourists return to central London following the pandemic, Ikea’s presence in Oxford Circus will help further boost footfall and provide a real fillip for the city’s retail sector.”
Krister Mattsson, managing director of Ingka Investments, said the latest agreement “represents another opportunity to create a more accessible, affordable and sustainable Ikea for our customers”.
He added: “This property offers great potential for retail space, and we firmly believe in the long-term value of the real estate market in London.”
The deal will be seen as a big boost for central London which saw footfall plunge during the pandemic. Visitor numbers have improved, but the City and West End are still suffering from much fewer tourists and office workers being in town.