Hundreds of people flocked to Swedish furniture retailer IKEA’s new outlet in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖) yesterday, when the store formally opened, as Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) expressed concern about traffic in the district.
The new store covers 6,200 ping (20,496m2) and has the capacity for 9,000 people. It replaced the Dunbei store in downtown Taipei, which had closed two days earlier.
At an inauguration ceremony for the new store, IKEA Group board member Marin Lindstrom said he was delighted that IKEA has found a new home in Neihu after operating at the Dunbei commercial zone for 23 years.
He said the Neihu store would provide customers with a more spacious shopping area, as well as more restaurant seating and parking spaces.
Ko, who attended the ceremony along with Taipei Deputy Mayor Huang Shan-shan (黃珊珊), said that Taipei is home to many types of shopping centers and retailers, such as Carrefour of France, Don Don Donki of Japan, local brand A. Mart and IKEA of Sweden.
These stores have changed the commercial appearance of the city and the living habits of its residents, he said.
Ko said that traffic in Neihu is the main concern, adding that he anticipated huge crowds at the new store.
Huang said that the Taipei City Government has prepared traffic control plans for Jiuzong Road, where many retailers are located, including the new IKEA outlet, to cope with the influx of shoppers at weekends and during holidays, as well as those seeking to visit the new store during its two-week inaugural period.
IKEA closed the Dunbei store on the corner of Dunhua N Road and Nanjing E Road on Monday. It was the retailer’s first store in the nation.
One resident, surnamed Lin (林), told the Central News Agency that she had visited the Dunbei store two or three times a week since it opened in 1998, adding that the store was “her psychological support.”
“I live nearby, so I often walked here,” Lin said.
Now that the store has moved away, “I feel not just a big loss, but also panic,” she said.
IKEA has five other outlets — one each in Taoyuan, Taichung and Kaohsiung, and two in New Taipei City.
The company has said it would not rule out plans to open stores elsewhere in Taiwan.
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