Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Ikea is good news for everyone

Lacklustre living rooms, bland bedrooms and woeful work spaces will be consigned to the past from today as furniture giant Ikea finally throws open its doors to the Ulster public, following months of anticipation.

Bargain hunters in their thousands are expected to descend on the huge store on the outskirts of east Belfast throughout the day to snap up some Christmas gifts with a difference.

The store will open at 10am with a traditional Swedish log cutting ceremony by Lord Mayor of Belfast Jim Rodgers, although many shoppers are expected to start queuing well ahead of the scheduled 'zero hour'.

And in spite of detailed preparations by police and Roads Service - including a visit to Spain by PSNI officers to witness another store opening - heavy traffic is expected in the area.

Among the measures being put in place to combat congestion are CCTV cameras to monitor traffic, electronic driver information signs and overflow parking for 600 vehicles, in addition to the 1,450 spaces already available.

The Belfast store - which covers a whopping 29,000 sq ft, the equivalent of five-and-a-half football pitches - is the first of its kind in Ireland.

Bargain hunters from across the island are expected to travel to the Hollywood Exchange site in force, eager to snap up some of the iconic chain's 9,500 different, high-quality furniture and homeware items in time for Christmas.

The Belfast store boasts over 50 showrooms, featuring everything from stylish beds and sofas to lamps, lights and cookie jars.

The goods are divided into a number of basic design styles - Young Swede, Country, Modern and Scandinavian - with displays reflecting real living rooms and homes.

The store will also cater for hungry Christmas shoppers with a 565-seat restaurant, the largest in Northern Ireland, as well as providing a creche and children's play area.

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