Ikea opening in India brings traffic to standstill

Huge crowds gather in city of Hyderabad as Swedish furniture chain opens store.

    Around 35,000 people are expected on a daily basis at the store [Subrat Patnaik/Reuters]
    Around 35,000 people are expected on a daily basis at the store [Subrat Patnaik/Reuters]

    Swedish flat pack furniture giant Ikea has opened its first store in India, drawing huge crowds and bringing traffic to a standstill.

    The opening ceremony in the city of Hyderabad on Thursday was attended by Klas Molin, the Swedish ambassador to India, and K Taraka Rama Rao, the state minister for Telangana.

    Molin told employees at the store before the opening that Ikea "symbolises Swedish values and the things [Sweden] wants to offer India".

    The Swedish embassy in India's Twitter account said it was "very proud" of the opening. 

    Footage shared by local media outlets showed throngs of shoppers trying to enter the store, as staff tried to maintain order.

    The Times of India shared an image of bumper-to-bumper tailbacks on the road leading to the store in Hyderabad's tech quarter, called Hitec City.

    Around 35,000 people are expected on a daily basis at the 400,000 square-foot store.

    The size of the crowds has led to comparisons to Black Friday sales on social media.

    In many Western countries, the sales held in late November have become infamous for drawing huge numbers, with scenes sometimes turning violent as shoppers try to beat each other to the best deals. 

    No such incidents were reported in Hyderabad.

    Ikea has more than 300 stores in 38 countries, and the opening of new ones are often accompanied by large crowds.

    Its first Indian outlet also includes a creche, and a restaurant, which will serve up Indian variants of its most well know dishes, such as meatballs, as well as Indian staples, such as biryani. 

    Items advertised on the store's website range from a serving bowl for 349 rupees ($5) to a wing chair for 15,990 rupees ($232).

    People drive past the new IKEA store in Hyderabad [Subrat Patnaik/Reuters]

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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