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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 November, 2003, 17:43 GMT
Swedish giant ready for onslaught
Ikea, Cardiff
Work on the new store has taken 11 months to complete
Sixty thousand shoppers are expected to pour into a furniture shop the size of five football pitches during its first four days of opening.

Workers at the new Ikea in Cardiff Bay have had the mammoth task of filling hundreds of shelves in time for its launch on Thursday.

Thousands of goods have been put on display around the two-storey building by the 480 staff.

The Swedish store, built on the site of the old gas works in Ferry Road, Grangetown, is - at 26,000 square metres - Ikea's first in Wales and their second largest in the UK.

Manager Theresa Daly is expecting 15,000 shoppers to pass through the doors on its first day alone.

"It is going to be a really busy weekend and we are just finishing the final touches to the store ready for our customers," she said.

"It has been a really busy year so far. We began work on the store in January.

"And there were a few hair-raising moments along the way but on the whole it has been good.

Theresa Daly, Ikea store manager
Manager Theresa Daly is anticipating thousands of customers

"Everyone is looking forward to opening now though," she said.

The opening clashes on the same day as the start of the Wales Rally GB event in Cardiff and there have been fears over traffic congestion around the city.

Cardiff Council which has had 3m from the company towards traffic improvements have said that the road problems have been under consideration for some time.

Deputy council leader, Councillor Michael Michael said: "We can handle this, we've done it before.

"Cardiff has shown we have real expertise dealing with these big events so I'm very confident and believe we can cope with the traffic, although motorists should think carefully about the peak times and try to stagger their journeys."

Inside Ikea
The store is packed with thousands of Swedish goods

The Cardiff Ikea, is 30% bigger than the nearest store in Bristol is expected to become a Mecca for shoppers from across Wales looking for everything from CD racks and wrapping paper to bathroom suites.

"This is the sort of place where you can spend a whole day at," said Ms Daly.

"I can see people even having trips here because it is so big," she added.

Ikea opens it doors to the public for the first time on Thursday at 1000 BST.


SEE ALSO:
Traffic fears at new Ikea store
31 Oct 03  |  Wales
Rally chaos fear on Ikea day
11 Sep 03  |  South East Wales


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