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Ikea abandons Preston store amid profits fall

Ikea has abandoned plans for a store near Preston, saying the site is no longer viable. The decision came after a sharp drop in profits last year.

UK pre-tax profits fell from £140m to £87m in the year to 31 August. Sales rose by 6% to £1.8bn. The chain said it had higher costs thanks to investing in its stores, website and higher wages.

The branch at Cuerden, near Preston, would have been its second largest in the UK and would have employed 350 people when it opened in 2020.

‘Our decision is due to increased development costs and delays outside of Ikea’s control which no longer make this location viable. We will continue to look for new sites and opportunities in this region,’ said Richard Rands, Ikea UK and Ireland property manager.

It is building a store in Greenwich and wants to open one near Brighton.

Gillian Drakeford, Ikea UK and Ireland country manager is to be succeeded by her deputy Javier Quiñones next month when she moves to a role at parent company Inter Ikea Systems. She has held the role for five years.