Hyderabad: The mad rush of visitors on the inaugural day of Swedish furniture and home furnishing retailer Ikea’s first India store brought the traffic to a grinding halt in parts of Hyderabad city.
With thousands of people making a beeline to the sprawling store spread over 13 acres, it looked as if all the roads were leading towards Hitec City.
In the evening the turnout was so huge that a stampede-like situation prevailed giving anxious moments to the store personnel and security officials. They found it hard to maintain order and had to stop the entry of the visitors for some time. The crowds swelled as the techies working in numerous IT companies in the vicinity also joined the queues, not to miss the “first day, first show” feeling as one of them put it. This brought the traffic on the busy roads of Hitec City to a full stop and the traffic police found it difficult to clear the jam. Heavy rains in the evening also added to the confusion and woes of the road users. The store was packed with the visitors till its closing time of 11pm.
The Ikea showroom was inaugurated on Thursday morning by the state industries minister K Taraka Rama Rao (KTR) in the presence of Ikea CEO Jesper Brodin and Swissh ambassador to India Las Molin. “We welcome another marquee brand entering India through our own Hyderabad and Telangana,” KTR said.
Apart from the locals, the crowd of visitors and shoppers had a fair mix of the people from outside including some from as far as Bengaluru and also a large number of expatriates familiar with the brand.
“Normally we see such a mad rush only on the first day of Rajnikant movie or outside big temples on important occasions,” commented Raghuraman, a techie from nearby Hitech tower.
“What madness,” a visitor commented on Twitter. “Do these people think the shop will not be there tomorrow?”
Store manager John Achillea said that the store attracted around 40,000 customers on the first day but did not divulge the volume of the business transacted.
Apart from the store itself, the huge restaurant with 1,000 seats was also a major attraction where people waited for their turn to enjoy the delicacies priced very reasonably. Among the 404 Ikea stores throughout the world, this one has the biggest restaurant.