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Swedish retailer IKEA has garnered a worldwide following for its stylish but affordable furniture and accessories. However in China, the store is popular for an entire different reason - As a destination to relax, catch up with friends and even, take long naps!
Each day, when the store's nine Chinese locations open, about 20,000 (30,000 on weekends) customers, some from faraway places, eagerly flock in. A few head to the cafeteria, while others seek out comfortable couches and beds and settle down with their books, knitting or simply snuggle under a comforter and take a nap.
While some leave in a few hours others, turn the visit into a day-long excursion - Starting with a warm cinnamon roll and coffee breakfast or a hot dog and ice cream lunch, followed by a nap, some family pictures, and finally, just before the store closes for the day, a dinner of braised mushrooms and rice.
Among the people that actually come to look at what the store has to offer are a percentage that browse for design ideas, reserving their purchases for other cheaper stores. Despite all these rather dire-sounding statistics, the Swedish company does not appear to be worried - In fact, they are planning to add five new stores to their nine existing Chinese locations.
The company believes that by allowing the people to relax and enjoy their furniture, they are simply building a clientele of the future - One that will only buy from IKEA once they can afford to. Given that their 2011 retail sales in China came to a whopping $2.7 trillion dollars and is up 16% from the previous year, they sure seem to know what they are talking about!
Resources: odditycentral.com,cnbc.com, forbes.com