Popular home furnishing store IKEA has opened four of its 14 Canadian stores implementing what it calls enhanced and robust health and safety measures for both its customers and employees.
The re-opened locations are in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, and Quebec City. However, the IKEA Restaurant and children’s play area, Småland, will remain closed in those locations while the IKEA Bistro will open for takeout only.
“As we begin to reopen store locations in certain markets, our top priority continues to be the health and safety of our co-workers, customers and communities,” said Michael Ward, CEO and Chief Sustainability Officer of IKEA Canada. “We will continue to act in a responsible way and before making any decisions to open our doors, we have taken steps to ensure our health and safety measures are secured.”
New health and safety measures at IKEA stores include:
Strict physical distancing guidelines, a minimum of two-metres apart, including floor decals for lineups;
Limiting the number of visitors overall and maintaining a strict capacity in select areas;
Frequent sanitization and cleaning of units and surfaces including carts (after every use);
Personal protective equipment for co-workers;
Separation screens around cash registers and customer service points;
Hand sanitizer throughout and clear information on preventive hygiene methods to minimize the potential risk of infection; and
Health and safety requirements for co-workers and third-party vendors, including a temperature check when they enter the building.
Kristin Newbigging, Public Relations Leader for IKEA Canada, said the retailer took the proactive step to temporarily close all its Canadian store locations on March 18 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. It also decided to temporarily suspend its Click & Collect service on March 25 for the same reason.
“Our reopening plan is a phased approach with health and safety as our top priority. Our first step was to relaunch Curbside Click & Collect with a new contactless pick-up process, which rolled out to all stores by May 11. Today, we announced the reopening of four store locations in Calgary, Edmonton, Quebec City, and Winnipeg. At this time, we have not yet announced any further market opening dates, however we are looking very closely at this, always working in line with recommendations from local health authorities and government,” said Newbigging.
“Any decision to reopen is always taken in close consultation with the local government and in accordance with the recommendations from local health authorities. Above everything else, we want to reopen all of our stores in a responsible manner, when it is appropriate to do so. We thank customers for their patience as our teams work hard to take the necessary steps and precautions to ensure a safe, warm welcome back to store for our co-workers and customers.”
Newbigging said the retailer believes health and safety is a shared responsibility and it is asking customers to do their part when they plan to visit an IKEA store.
“During these first weeks, we ask customers to be mindful of physical distancing guidelines and limits to store capacity when they plan a visit to the store. This includes planning their specific purchase in advance, checking stock availability on IKEA.ca, considering a non-peak time or later date to shop if the need isn’t immediate, only touching product that they intend to buy and shopping in groups of two or less,” she said.
“To avoid long wait times, we also encourage customers to take advantage of our 365-day return policy and return products at a later time. For customer convenience, IKEA continues to offer contactless Curbside Click & Collect at all store locations, including those which have reopened, and online shopping at IKEA.”
Founded in 1943 in Sweden, IKEA is a leading home furnishing retailer, offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products. IKEA Canada is part of Ingka Group which operates 374 IKEA stores in 30 countries, including 14 in Canada. Last year, IKEA Canada welcomed 31 million visitors to its stores and 117 million visitors to IKEA.
“When co-workers and customers enter our stores, we want them to immediately feel it is a safe place to work and shop. We’ve seen a very positive response so far to the new customer experience and safety measures in place in our reopened locations,” added Newbigging.
“We know that today, life at home is more important than ever, with many families across Canada adapting to a new normal, whether that’s home schooling or working full-time from home. We’re committed to continuing to provide our customers with the home furnishing and hardware solutions to support these needs, while following the recommendations of local health authorities.”
Newbigging said the company’s focus at the moment remains with the health and safety of employees and customers as well as securing the short and long-term viability of its business.