Stroll along sofas, tables and duvets or have lunch in the restaurant; For many, a visit to IKEA on Easter Monday is almost a tradition. A trip to the garden center on this day, at the start of the gardening season, is also something to look forward to for many Dutch people. However, many will have to make other plans, because the available places at IKEA are fully booked and fun shopping among the plants is also not possible.
Last year at Easter, the corona crisis had already broken out and the idea was that a year later the world would be back to normal. Nothing is less true. Catering establishments are closed, vacations to distant places are not an option and due to the expected bad weather, a trip to the beach or a bike ride is hardly an option. Easter Monday could therefore have been a great day for furniture boulevards and garden centers.
But a visit is now only possible by appointment and, moreover, no more than fifty visitors are allowed in the store at the same time, even at the IKEA’s, which are among the largest stores in the Netherlands. And all places at the Swedish furniture store have already been filled. “We are fully booked for Easter Monday,” said a spokesman.
Still, there will be no crowds at IKEA. “Normally there are several thousand visitors per day per store and on Easter Monday another 20 percent extra. But now, even at Easter, there will be only a few hundred per day.”
During holidays, fun shoppers, for example families or friends, usually come to IKEA. They then make extra use of the restaurant and consider it an outing.
“But that’s different now. People are allowed to stay for a maximum of 45 minutes and you see that customers make very effective use of the time they have with us. They come to buy things very specifically. Others come to orientate themselves, for example when they want a new kitchen. “
Gardening season has started, but garden centers are not benefiting from it
While IKEA still sees a lot of enthusiasm for shopping by appointment in these difficult times, things are looking a bit worse for another popular Easter day activity. The garden centers see that customers do not make use of all the options for shopping. And it often happens that visitors schedule an appointment, but do not show up.
“That is extra difficult. You still design your shop for those customers,” says Frank van der Heide, director of Tuinbranche Nederland, an interest group for garden centers. What makes it extra bitter is that Easter falls exactly at a time when the gardening season starts and many want to get started with their garden.
“Easter Monday, but also other holidays, are really times when people go to a garden center for fun. Normally people have a cup of coffee and a sandwich. Garden centers also have play areas for children and organize workshops. But that is not the case at all now. You see that customers now really come with a shopping list. The fun shopping is gone. “