Ikea has officially marked the start of construction of its new Reading store, the first to be built in the UK in seven years.

The leader of the West Berkshire Council, Cllr Gordon Lundie, joined Ikea Reading store manager, Johanna Heuren and Ikea UK country retail manager, Gillian Drakeford, to ceremonially cement a steel column at the entrance of the new store, which will open in the summer next year.

The 32,000 sqm store on Pincents Lane, Calcot, will provide the full Ikea product range, and will bring 350 job opportunities.

Johanna says: “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 comments: “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.”

Ikea received final approvals from West Berkshire Council on plans for the store in July, and has appointed RG Group to manage the construction works. Work to prepare the site has been ongoing for a number of months. During the demolition works, 97% of construction waste was recycled, diverting over 3000 tonnes of waste from landfill. In preparation for the opening, Ikea has made a £4m investment in improving the local roads and junctions. The works are expected to be completed by spring.

When it opens, Ikea Reading will be the 19th traditional Ikea store in the UK. The first store was opened in Warrington in 1987.