Thousands of people gathered outside a shopping mall in an upscale neighborhood of the Chilean capital for the Wednesday morning opening of Swedish furniture giant Ikea’s first store in South America.
After an inauguration ceremony, customers made their way in two lines (for registered and unregistered shoppers) past colorful balloons, the Chilean and Swedish flags and dozens of people dressed in the brand’s blue and yellow colors Ikea.
At the end of the queues around the huge warehouse were a music band and Ikea employees tasked with informing customers about the store’s offers and handing out yellow bags with gifts.
“I discovered Ikea when I traveled to Germany and I was fascinated,” Efe Ainoa, a young pregnant woman who arrived at this store on the north side of Santiago told Efe Ainoa to buy items for her home and his baby.
Eduardo, for his part, said he had been to Ikea stores in other countries and wanted to know what the one in Chile was like, adding that the three-hour wait to get in didn’t bother him and that the inauguration was a “beautiful living.”
“The truth is that they brought everything. I saw (the store) quickly, but I think they brought the whole range of products that they have in other countries. It really surprised me “, did he declare.
The store’s retail space covers an area of over 15,300 square meters (164,470 square feet) and, as in other countries, includes a play area for young children, a restaurant serving typical Swedish dishes and a northern food market.
A second store that will open in 2023 in Cerrillos, a municipality that is part of the Santiago metropolitan area, will cover an area of 25,000 square meters.
Wednesday’s grand opening marks a major milestone for the company and the first step in a regional expansion that will include store openings in the near future in Colombia and Peru, according to promoters of the Ikea project in Chile.
In an effort to incorporate aspects of local culture into the design of the store, nine Hispanic artists and designers – including four Chileans – were recruited.
Local designers should also be recruited for stores in Colombia and Peru to ensure a mix of Swedish and country-specific styles.
The opening of the store in Santiago had been eagerly awaited since October 2021, when the first shipments of products to supply the Ikea store left for Chile from a distribution center in Barcelona, Spain. ECE