New Ikea store in Exeter 'will be next to Sandy Park'
Store giant Ikea has reportedly identified a site in Exeter where it hopes to create a new store.
As the Echo revealed last year, the Swedish business said it wanted to open a store in Exeter and had been trying to identify a site.
It is now understood that land near Sandy Park and opposite Tesco is preferred following discussions with the city council.
The store could be open by 2015.
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Derek Phillips, of Exeter Chamber of Commerce, said: "This is very good news for Exeter and demonstrates its pre-eminence as a retail destination of the South West."
A formal planning application is expected within the next few weeks.
Councillor Pete Edwards, leader of Exeter City Council, spoke to the Echo when Ikea confirmed its interest and said: “I know there are many people who would love to see an Ikea store here, and the arrival of such a popular retailer would be yet further evidence that Exeter is bucking the trend in this recession.
Ikea was locked in discussions with the city council in the summer of 2001, but the plans failed to progress because the retailer was looking for a site of between 10 and 20 acres which, at that time, the city council was unable to identify.
A spokeswoman for Ikea said another large space would be required for a move to the city.
She said: “On average, Ikea stores are approximately 20,000 to 40,000 square metres. This means most sites capable of accommodating an Ikea store are naturally based out of city centres.
“Decades of retailing experience, worldwide, have proven that Ikea stores need to be given ample space to present the 9,500 home furnishing products across the various areas of the home to meet the needs of Ikea visitors.”
Ikea was launched 70 years ago in a small farming village in Sweden. It has grown to become one of the biggest home furnishing retailers in the world with more than 150 stores in 29 countries. The company opened its first UK store in 1987.
It is understood the move to Exeter could lead to the creation of 300 jobs.