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Gloucestershire Business News

Ikea looking to buy in-town shopping centres - is that good news for Gloucestershire?

Ikea could be about to revolutionise its store portfolio and come to the aid of ailing High Streets and town centre retail areas, according to reports.

Industry experts Retail Week have reported that the Swedish flat pack furniture behemoth has employed new staff to research possible town centre store locations.

And that could be music to Gloucestershire ears with both Gloucester and Cheltenham likely prime spots for the iconic blue and yellow brand to move in.

Currently, we have to go either up or down the M5 before putting our alan keys in to action with Ikea outlets at Eastville in Bristol or by the M5/M6 interchange near Walsall.

The reports suggest that having previously only looked at out-of-town warehouse-style shops in the past, new members of the firm's property team are changing tack.

The firm are reportedly looking at a shopping centre site in central London, with others being looked at across the country.

Gloucester's Eastgate Shopping Centre is rumoured to be for sale as part of the Tiger Portfolio of in-town shopping centres.

That portfolio was purchased by private equity firm Lone Star for £260million in 2014 and sold again this year to Austrian bank BAWAG for an undisclosed sum.

Eastgate Shopping Centre is one of a few possible sites that Ikea could find a Gloucestershire home.

There have long-shared rumours about the future of the Cavendish House site in Cheltenham and the Debenhams store on King's Square in Gloucester.

With the development at Gloucester Quays in the last decade and the arrival of John Lewis into a purpose-built superstore in Cheltenham, the county's shopping offering is strong.

A new outlet centre is in the planning next to junction 8 of the M5 at Ashchurch.

On seeing this news, one wag in the Punchline offices remembered a joke that he had seen on twitter over the weekend, regarding how Ikea is beginning to take over the world.

"I've heard Ikea are moving into making school halls," the joke said.

"Some assembly, is required."

He's currently getting his coat...

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