Long lines are forming outside Ikea stores in Belgium as people flock to the shops before the new shopping system requiring customers to book appointments takes effect from this weekend.
Most Ikea shops in Belgium were considerably more crowded than usual on Thursday, and even more so on Friday, but there is no question of them being overrun, according to spokesperson Colombine Nicolay.
"With the Consultative Committee's announcement on Wednesday, we expected that a lot of customers would still like to come in on Thursday and especially today, as it is the last day where no appointment is needed," she told The Brussels Times.
However, the chain was prepared for larger groups of people, as it already took measures to ensure that visitors could queue up to await their turn safely and at a distance, earlier on in the pandemic.
"Due to the fact that we allow a maximum number of customers inside the stores (1 client per 20m²), it may seem crowded on the outside, but the number of people inside is always limited," said Nicolay.
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Additionally, from tomorrow/Saturday, Ikea's online booking system will be in place. This will see a maximum of 50 clients inside a store at the same, as decided by the Consultative Committee on Wednesday.
"Clients will be able to make an online appointment to come and shop in the store of their choice at the indicated time slot," she added.
The system will give every customer one hour of time to spend at the store. "We know that for some, that is longer than they need, while it will not be enough for others," said Nicolay, adding that they ask customers to prepare themselves so that they know shat they need before they come in.
"The system will be operational from tomorrow, but we do advise customers to use our online solutions as much as possible, and to work with click-and-collect," she said, adding that it will take place in the car park.
The Brussels Times