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Ikea’s Whirlwind Queens Experiment Is Over

Less than two years after opening, Ikea will close its Queens store, making the Brooklyn location its lone outpost in New York City. The store in Rego Center mall will close Dec. 3.

An announcement on the Ikea website cited “the changing needs of our customers” as the reasoning behind shuttering the Queens store. The 115,000-square-foot store opened in January 2021 as part of the company’s new smaller format concept, something the retailer tried in Manhattan in 2019 with a 17,530-square-foot “planning studio” on the Upper East Side. It closed a year later due to high rent and low foot traffic.

The Queens store offered thousands of smaller Ikea goods, but larger furniture pieces were only available via delivery.

At the same time Ikea announced a closure that will put the store’s 78 employees out of their jobs as early as Feb. 1, the retailer’s parent company, Ingka, shared plans to help workers struggling with inflated cost of living in Europe.

The measures include a $10 million euro ($10.3 million) social fund to support workers in need, as well as a 30 percent employee discount on Swedish Food Market items and energy-saving home goods.

The social fund will offer one-off financial assistance through the end of the fiscal year to workers for paying electricity bills or housing costs, among other urgent financial needs. Employees also will get an increased discount on select grocery items, as well as on products such as water-saving taps, energy-efficient light bulbs, bedspreads and appliances.

“We find ourselves in yet another reality, triggered by the energy crisis and inflation,” said Ulrika Biesèrt, Ingka Group people and culture manager. “Many of us have not experienced something like this before, and every day is a new learning and a reminder that people’s wellbeing is at the heart of our business.”