A SWEDISH retailing giant marked the start of the construction of its new Reading store.

IKEA at Calcot is the first to be built in the UK in seven years, and was officially opened today by the store manager, Johanna Heuren, leader of West Berkshire Council, Gordon Lundie, and IKEA UK country retail manager, Gillian Drakeford.

A steel column was cemented at the entrance of the new store.

The 32,000 square metre store on Pincents Lane, Calcot, will provide the full IKEA product range of products and will bring 350 job opportunities in functions including customer relations, sales, interior design, logistics and the IKEA restaurant.

Johanna Heuren, IKEA Reading store manager, said: “We are delighted to officially kick-off the development of the new IKEA Reading store as we move closer to bringing IKEA’s home furnishing offer to people in the Thames Valley.

"Over the coming months we will be focused on finding passionate and curious co-workers to join our team and getting to know the local area better to ensure that IKEA meets the needs of both our customers and our community.”

Gillian Drakeford, IKEA UK country retail manager, said: “As the first new store to be built in the UK in seven years, the start of work on the IKEA Reading store is a really important milestone for our expansion plans as we look to make IKEA more accessible to many more people.”

When the store opens, IKEA Reading will be the 19th traditional store in the UK. 

Councillor Gordon Lundie,  said: “I am pleased to welcome IKEA to the area and look forward to the store opening next year.

"IKEA has an impressive commitment to their co-workers and to working with the communities it operates within, and I look forward to working in partnership to ensure that IKEA has a positive impact in Berkshire.”