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August 19, 2013

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Crowds throng to new IKEA outlet

SHOPPERS flocked to IKEA’s new store in Baoshan District over the weekend, forcing police to divert cars to alternative parking lots as the Swedish furniture store’s lot was full by noon each day.

Traffic authorities had estimated crowds of about 80,000 people each day over the weekend.

An IKEA employee said about 35,000 to 40,000 people visited the store last Thursday for its official opening, but declined to give numbers for the weekend.

A Shanghai office lady in her late 20s surnamed Yao said she parked her car at the nearby Red Star Macalline Furniture Mall yesterday afternoon and walked five minutes to IKEA to look for home furnishings.

“I would like to find some discounts during the opening period at IKEA,” Yao said. “Plus the furniture at the nearby Macalline and B&Q malls is too large for my small one-bedroom apartment, so IKEA is a good choice.”

As with the IKEA stores in Xuhui District and the Pudong New Area, the restaurant also proved to be a popular hang-out place for people who live nearby. Some don’t even order food as they bring their own snacks and drinks. The restaurant was so busy on the weekend that customers had to wait up to 20 minutes before they could enter.

Some shoppers were also spotted sleeping on beds and sofas in the store.

An IKEA employee said the company regards the store as a “neighborhood” and shoppers are welcome to try all the products. The employee added they would only stop customers who are acting uncivilized.

The Baoshan store is 55,000 square meters and is the chain’s 13th in China. It is also the biggest IKEA outlet in Asia.

In an interview earlier this month, Qiu Zhichen, head of the new store, said the outlet is expected to serve more than 6.4 million residents in Baoshan and the neighboring districts of Putuo, Hongkou and Zhabei.

The store specializes in items for one-bedroom apartments.



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