Ikea, the Swedish retail giant opened its first Indian store in Hyderabad on Thursday and going by the photos and videos floating online, it is already a blockbuster hit.
The store in the southern city of Hyderabad is the first of 25 outlets the Swedish furniture giant hopes to open by 2025 across the country of 1.25 billion people.
"I've come all the way from Bangalore (575 kilometres, 357 miles away). I am excited to see what's there," garment factory employee Krishna Mohan Dixit, 39, who began lining up 90 minutes before the 10 am opening, told AFP.
"We are looking forward to it. Actually it's my wife who got me here. Her sister sends a lot Ikea stuff from Dubai. So here we are," said IT manager Nasrullah Khan, 34, another early bird.
As the retail giant finally opened its doors for Indian customers, thousands of enthusiastic customers thronged the 400,000 sq feet store, easily the largest single brand outlet the country has seen.
As the videos on social media suggest, a stampede-like situation was captured on film. According to The Times of India, Ikea saw customers coming in as early as 10 am, store's opening time and thronged till 11 pm.
"This madness at #Ikea opening today at Hyderabad looks like temple Darshan queue," wrote one user on Twitter. "First Day First Show BlockBuster," wrote another.
First day at the IKEA store, and all the rich people have sent their carpenters to pick up stuff and assemble it for them. #INDIA pic.twitter.com/dov3TxXMUv — Gabbbar (@GabbbarSingh) August 9, 2018
Wammoooo..Ikea..ye tune kya kiya♂️..is it really worth it to be waiting in all the heavy jostlin n pushing..hoping for their safe entry n exit#IKEAHyderabad pic.twitter.com/75ZZjN8Ems — vennela kishore (@vennelakishore) August 9, 2018
But the madness wasn't just limited to the store. Thousands in the store meant the traffic too swelled exponentially.
Looks like #IKEA got a grand welcome from Hyderabad. pic.twitter.com/rnOCO3TWNB — #SrinivasaKalyanam (@vamsikaka) August 9, 2018
When citizens took to Twitter to complain about the chaos on roads, Cyberabad Police blamed the 'grossly insufficient parking space at IKEA building.'
"That’s not due to poor traffic management. But due to grossly insufficient parking space at IKEA building and no information to the IKEA customers regarding their external parking arrangements. Also, the roads around IKEA are not totally operational," responded Cyberabad Police on Twitter.
Sir, That’s not due to poor traffic management. But, due to grossly insufficient parking space at IKEA building and no information to the IKEA customers regarding their external parking arrangements.Also, the roads around IKEA are not totally operational. — CYBERABAD TRAFFIC (@CYBTRAFFIC) August 9, 2018
In fact, the situation was so bad that city cops had to issue a traffic advisory to warn the public about the traffic congestion.
The IKEA has started its business from today at Hitec City, near Raheja underpass. Large number of general public may visit the stores particularly during weekends. But, the IKEA building has a parking capacoty of 650 Cars only as of now. Hence this may lead to Traffic congestion in and around IKEA stores. In this background, following Traffic advisory is issued to the general public who intend to visit IKEA Stores:
> IKEA customers may make use of the external parking places arranged by the IKEA and use shuttle service from the external parking place to IKEA stores.
> The customers shall not park their vehicles on any of the roads around IKEA.
> Customers shall not come on to the road looking for Autos or cabs. They should wait at the designated pick up points inside IKEA premises.
However, Ikea was all pumped up during the inaugural.
Welcoming the first customers in the first IKEA store in Hyderabad. #ikeaindia pic.twitter.com/lfMMCintkF — IKEA Sverige (@IKEASverige) August 9, 2018
The retail giant has gone all guns blazing to make their presence felt in the city.
Spotted this morning on the conveyor belt at Hyderabad airport: lots of #Ikea cartons. All empty. Just announcing that the first Ikea store in India opens today! How cool is that. Take a bow - whoever thought of this innovation. And welcome to India @IKEAIndia pic.twitter.com/9YkrTgdZtq — Prakash Iyer (@prakashiyer) August 9, 2018