IKEA is undertaking considerable planning for a safe and phased reopening of its stores right now with limited numbers of customers.
But its bosses have released a message to customers with a request they hope will be followed.
Peter Jelkeby, IKEA’s Country Retail Manager for the UK and Ireland, has announced a list of measures the business is rolling out to keep staff and customers safe.
And it includes a plea to shoppers who might be thinking of trying to queue up to return unwanted items.
It reads: “Those wishing purely to return items are encouraged to do so at a later date. IKEA has a 365 day returns policy.”
Customers are also urged to come prepared with ready-made lists and their own bags in a bid to speed up the shopping process and limit the chances of virus transmission.
IKEA says its UK plans incorporate learnings from reopening IKEA stores in China, North America and the rest of Europe, alongside the specific requirements set out in the UK government’s workplace guidance and the guidance developed by the British Retail Consortium, with its Union, Usdaw.
Other changes customers will find in-store include the introduction of Social Distance Wardens, cashless tills, plastic screens around the store and the closure of restaurants. However, Swedish Food Market will be open, with the Bistro offering a takeaway service. This UK government advice only applies in England.
Mr Jelkeby said the safety of workers and customers was IKEA’s biggest priority.
He added: “We are working to a comprehensive global Reopening Manual, which is adapted and fully aligned to meet and support UK guidance and social distancing requirements.
“The plan is developed nationally and then adapted to each region, nation and store. Risk, legal and Public Affairs have maintained a consistent dialogue with the authorities, including the UK government, devolved administrations, Primary Authority, health bodies and others to ensure we have clarity at all times on what the plan needs to deliver.”