SWEDISH furniture and home accessories retailer IKEA appears to have shelved plans for a new store in Cork.
In a statement, the company said it has no plans at present to establish a second store in Ireland.
The Swedish multinational opened its first Irish store in Ballymun, Dublin, in 2009.
A company spokesperson said: “IKEA Ireland will focus future investment on developing its flagship store in Ballymun, the order and collection Point in Carrickmines, and its shop online service, in order to make IKEA products more accessible to people throughout Ireland.
“IKEA has no plans to open any additional stores in Ireland at present,” they added.
The statement is in stark contrast to the company’s stance earlier this year when it said it was “committed” to investing in Ireland and was looking for a site “specifically in Cork”.
Cork County Council said in January that it was working to identify suitable locations.
The council said it had made provisions in Local Area Plans to facilitate such a development.
Speculation spread in May that IKEA was planning a store on the site occupied by the Movie Junction drive-in cinema in Carrigtwohill after the large outdoor screen was dismantled by the owners.
However, the cinema owner said the dismantling of the screen was merely for routine maintenance. However, other sites around the Carrigtwohill area have also been the subject of speculation.
Local councillor Anthony Barry (FG) said he is disappointed to hear IKEA’s latest statement but added that any potential store opening has always been reliant on significant infrastructure upgrades.
“There was never anything concrete and until I see a definite planning application before the Council, speculation will always be rife.
“Obviously it would be a great fillip to the area, provided the proper infrastructure is in place.
“I have no doubt that the area of Carrigtwohill and Midleton is ripe for development.
“It will get a huge lift at some stage but there is a lot of infrastructure that needs to be put in place,” he said.
“We have railway but the network that feeds into the main N25 needs to be upgraded substantially and that’s probably a mitigating factor in the development of the former Amgen site (now owned by the IDA).
“It’s slightly disappointing but it had all been based on hearsay,” said the local councillor.
“I’m sure that if we had the upgrade of the Carrigtwohill-Midleton N25 section that there would be renewed interest in all that location,” he added.