Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Visiting Ikea Dublin a few months after it opened

Left: The new Ikea Store in Dublin( Photo - jml Property Services)
I have had the opportunity of going to the Ikea, Dublin today. It was opened in late July this year and is the first store in the Republic of Ireland and the second in the country. The Belfast store was opened in December 2007 and immediately attracted customers from throughout Ireland.

In March 2008 they started to accept euros for purchases due to the numbers of shoppers coming from the Republic.

I have not been there, but have been to Wembley Park store in North London on numerous occasions over the years and have also visited the Croydon, Bristol and Toulon (in France) stores.

The Ikea store in Dublin is no different, no signage in Irish /Gaelic like other foreign retailers coming into the country like Tesco or Homebase, but well laid out. A Wednesday late morning in October was a good time to go there. I wouldn’t have wanted to go at a weekend or later in the day. There were plenty of available car parking spaces and my only concern was the volume of the background music was so loud that it was not actually in the background and if I had been wanting to concentrate on some serious purchases would have put me off.

One thing that I had never seen in the London, Bristol or Toulon stores was people going round with large shopping trolleys in the showroom area. I can see the benefit of it for shoppers, they can pick up items en-route and naturally that is good for Ikea. I would imagine it could slow up traffic a great deal in really busy times.

When I came to pay, I was able to us my credit card without additional admin fee as you get in the Wembley, London store. Maybe when they are more settled in and so is the Irish economy again, they might bright bring in this extra fee earner. I hope they don’t as it would be a great shame.

The restaurant appears very good value and the positioning of the hot dogs, ice creams near the checkout is most tempting, again with great value prices.

There has been a lot of talk in the Irish press about the comparison of prices between the Belfast and Dublin operations. It must be difficult to try and match prices as they can do for example in Edinburgh and London as one store is governed by much lower VAT and the other. The euro € is still very strong against sterling £ so with two stores in the country at lease customers don’t have to spend so much on petrol.

Apparently the Dublin store has taken a lot more time to get off the ground than in other countries with the M50 motorway having to be widened first and it has opened when there is recession on. Knowing their market, they should not be to affected by that and maybe in the not too distant future they will be a store being developed in the Cork area.

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