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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 07:22 GMT
Ikea hype 'may hit estate trade'
Ikea in Belfast
A neighbouring supermarket has complained about the hype
While the opening of the Belfast Ikea did not cause the predicted disruption, a neighbouring business has said the surrounding hype may have hurt trade.

Before the Swedish outlet opened last week major traffic chaos was predicted, and measures were put in place to control crowds.

While the store was busy, ravening hordes of shoppers did not materialise.

A neighbouring supermarket has claimed shoppers may be being put off by the "scare" stories and signage at Ikea.

Sainsbury's store manager Richard Heaton said signs on the approach to the retail park could hit other businesses on the site.

"I believe the opening of Ikea will have a positive impact on the entire retail site at Holywood Exchange," he said.

"More stores and a wider choice will bring more people to the area and the appeal of Ikea has been shown in the past to be very strong.

"But the Ikea parking signs indicating to drivers that the car park is full may have a detrimental impact on other stores.

"The incorrect signs, together with the media and police predictions about huge volumes of traffic in the early days of the new store's opening may put people off coming to the Holywood Exchange site."

Ikea said that the car park full sign had only been lit once so far, for 10 minutes on Saturday, and that traffic had been flowing healthily along the site.

A spokeswoman said that the numbers at the the 29,000sq metre store had been very healthy, with 15,000 people going through the doors on the opening day on Thursday and another 15,000 on Friday.

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