Retail furniture chain IKEA Israel is streamlining by both reducing staffing levels and shortening opening hours, which includes remaining closed on Saturday nights.
The company has announced that it is recalling 200 more employees from unpaid leave but continuing to furlough 400 other employees until at least the end of August. At the same time IKEA has offered a retirement package to any of those 400 employees on unpaid leave who wish to quit now.
On the eve of the coronavirus crisis, IKEA Israel had 1,700 employees, so that nearly 25% of employees have yet to return to work.
IKEA has also announced that it is shortening opening hours in the evening and at night from July 1. The company's stores around the country will be open from 10am to 7pm Sunday to Wednesday, and open to 10pm only on Thursdays, as well as 9am-3pm Fridays. The company's stores will no longer open on Saturday nights.
IKEA Israel CEO Shuki Koblenz wrote to employees, "We see a change in consumer behavior worldwide and in Israel. We have recently been trying to study these new consumer habits and understand their influence on retail generally and us in particular."
He continued, "We have identified two major changes in consumer habits. The first is a focus on defined purchases 'according to need' and a reduction is going shopping. The second is a change in the hours of consuming and in the various markets this means a significant reduction in consumer traffic in the evening and at night."
IKEA Israel has six stores in Netanya, Rishon Lezion, Kiryat Ata, Beersheva, Tel Aviv (kitchens only) and the recently opened outlet at Moshav Eshtaol near Beit Shemesh.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 23, 2020
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