About 1,500 people queued up this morning for the opening of east Greenwich’s controversial Ikea store.
When the doors opened at 9.55am, the first customers were greeted with cheering staff waving Swedish flags.
Traffic coped well in the initial minutes, but shortly after the doors opened the bus lane past the store began to be congested with drivers who had ignored the one-way system put in place to alleviate fears of gridlock. There was no sign of any enforcement of the bus lane, with the two police officers on duty watching the queue rather than the traffic. Within half an hour, traffic had begun to queue around the Woolwich Road flyover, although queuing for the Blackwall Tunnel was also causing problems in the area.
The store’s real test will come on Saturday, when its first weekend will coincide with Charlton Athletic’s home match against Southend United.
For the first day, high winds were the worst problem shoppers had to deal with, with one couple seen chasing along Bugsby’s way to retrieve one of the store’s trademark blue bags.
The store, which was given planning permission against near-universal local opposition five years ago, replaces the “eco” Sainsbury’s store which sat on the site for 16 years until 2015.
It will be open from 10am to 10pm on weekdays, 9am to 10pm on Saturdays and 11am to 5pm on Sundays.
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