Ikea changes may be too late

RETAILING:

The global flat-pack furnishings retailer Ikea is planning a radical change to the current floor layout in its large  warehouse-style showrooms.

News reports suggest the longstanding layout which includes arrows on the floor to direct customers through the multiplicity of showrooms and displays in each Ikea outlet will be replaced by a series of themed areas offering more interaction between consumers and products. (pictured)

Speaking from Ikea’s headquarters in Sweden, a spokesperson said it was not known when the changeover will start and how long it will take to convert the groups 445 outlets across the world.

But however long it takes, the new system will likely arrive too late for Merle Thackle, a 68-year-old Toowoomba woman who went missing in Ikea’s Logan City store south of Brisbane in May 2019.

Her husband Stan, 70, said he still held out hope that she would be found.

“I remember it as clear as a bell,” he recalled. “We were in the lounge furniture section where I had taken a seat on a display chair to have a rest because I was a bit tired  after walking so far from the showroom entry.

“We had already got lost a couple of times along the way so I wanted to take a break and get my bearings.

“Merle left me to go off on her own. She said she wanted to check out some things in the kitchenware department and asked me to meet her outside the checkouts because she wanted to pick up some reindeer meatballs. That’s the last I ever saw of her.

“I reported her missing after waiting an hour or so and having a couple of Ikea’s lovely $1.00 hot dogs.

“The Ikea staff were very helpful and seemed quite experienced in handling missing persons, checking the security video and all but with no result.

“I also can’t fault the Queensland Police Service which responded very quickly and have been conducting regular searches for the past three years.” (main picture)

Mr Thackle, a retired baker, said he made regular visits to the Logan Ikea store in the hope of being reunited with his wife of 45 years.

“I know Merle’s in there somewhere and I’m sure the police will find her soon,” he said.

“After all, they have a real incentive because they’ve lost a couple of officers and at least one search-and-rescue dog too while looking for Merle.”