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Ikea to test new retail format in Britain

[LONDON] Ikea Group plans to trial a new small-format store in Britain as it seeks to extend its reach across the country, the world's largest furniture retailer said on Wednesday.

The privately owned Swedish company, known for its flat-pack, self-assembly furniture, intends to trial "order and collection points", starting in Norwich, eastern England, in the autumn. "Our customers are ... telling us that with 18 stores in the UK, we are often too far away. Order and collection points give us the opportunity to trial new ways of being more accessible to our customers," said Gillian Drakeford, the company's UK manager.

The move is part of a global initiative as Ikea, which trades from 315 stores in 27 countries and aims to double sales to about 50 billion euros (S$75.2 billion) by 2020 through sales growth at existing stores, new stores and new markets.

Ikea has already opened similar trial formats in Spain, Norway and Finland.

The Norwich outlet will allow customers to touch and test Ikea's product range, speak to home furnishing experts and make and collect orders made online or in the store, which will also include an Ikea cafe.

Customers will also be able to make purchases from a limited range of products to take home on the day.