Ljubljana – The Swedish furniture group Ikea is set to open its first store in Slovenia in Ljubljana on Thursday. To ensure a safe shopping experience in Covid times and avert long queues in front of the store, Ikea has mandated advanced bookings for in-person shopping in the first weeks following the opening.
In the initial weeks after the opening, shoppers will be obliged to register online to visit the store. The booking will be free of charge and available from Tuesday at 9am.
The number of visitors is capped at 700 with Ikea estimating that they will spend roughly two hours on average browsing around the store.
Online shop will also come to life on Thursday. Ikea restaurant in the brick-and-mortar store will be closed due to Covid rules, but there will be take-away options, Cas Lachaert, the head of the Ljubljana store, said on Monday.
He added that Ikea will sell its standard products in Slovenia as well as those reflecting the local environment.
Great demand for Ikea family cards shows that consumers are looking forward to the opening, Lachaert said, noting that 45,000 people requested the card in the first seven days.
After the epidemiological situation improves, the Ljubljana store is expected to attract some 2 million visitors per year.
Online purchases could be picked up or delivered – apart from Ljubljana, there will be a pick-up location in Maribor as well. Additional locations could be set up in the future, according to Lachaert.
Ikea has employed 400 staff for its Ljubljana store after receiving some 7,000 job applications. The Swedish furniture giant had initially planned the opening for the end of 2020, however Covid-19 has upset the apple cart and the date has been pushed to 25 February.
The store spans over 31,000 square metres, including some 22,000 square metres of the shopping area, and stocks about 9,500 products.