It only took a few minutes for hundreds of people to surge into the new IKEA store in Loulé, which officially opened its doors yesterday (March 30) at 10am.
The first client was a disgruntled wife who arrived an hour and a half before the opening.
“I never went to the store in Lisbon and when I passed by the IKEA in Seville, I asked my husband to stop but he didn’t,” Elisa Gonçalves told Correio da Manhã tabloid.
“After that I promised that I’d be one of the first to come to the Loulé IKEA,” she added.
Many readers of the Resident have also celebrated that they no longer have to travel as far as Lisbon or Seville to shop at IKEA.
The store’s opening ceremony was more “sober” than initially expected, however, due to the death of a 37-year-old woman at the Loulé construction site last Friday, March 24 (click here).
It featured the traditional Swedish log-sawing ceremony, which “symbolises a new beginning”.
Before the opening, store manager Abdelhak Ayadi met with journalists to explain that this store is not just a standard IKEA outlet. It is adapted specifically to the Algarve, namely its resident foreign community.
“To be relevant to foreigners, we have to connect with them, so all information is in Portuguese and English, from the in-store directions to the labels and price tags,” he said, adding that the catalogue and the website are also in both languages.
Some of the store’s products were also selected to take into account the needs of people living in the Algarve.
In its first year, Loulé IKEA hopes to attract around two million people, the manager added.
The store is open every day from 10am to 10pm, while the restaurant area works from 9.30am to 9.30pm.
In the busy summer months (June, July, August and September), the outlet’s closing hours will extend an extra hour (11pm for the store and 10.30pm for the restaurant).
Christmas Day (December 25) and New Year’s Day (January 1) are the only days the store closes.
This new branch of the Swedish furniture giant is part of a larger €200 million mega complex which also features a shopping centre (Mar Shopping Algarve) due to open this summer, and a retail fashion outlet (Designer Outlet Algarve) expected to open this autumn.
Photo: Bruno Pires/Open Media