Man stabbed in riot at Ikea opening sale

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ONE man was stabbed and several people crushed after thousands flocked to the opening of a flagship Ikea store in London.

Nine ambulances were called and staff were forced to shut the store 30 minutes after it opened at midnight last night.

It came after advertising announcing cut price offers over 24 hours attracted about 6,000 people to the store in Edmonton, north London.

Offers included a three-seater leather sofa for 45 until 3am and a double bed frame for 30 between 3am and 8am.

Bargain-hunters abandoned their cars on the A406 north circular causing "severe traffic" problems, police said.

Six people, including the man who was stabbed and one patient said to have been suffering chest pains, were taken to the North Middlesex and Whipps Cross hospitals. Up to 20 people had to be treated for "heat exhaustion" at the scene.

An Ikea spokeswoman said the company was "deeply shocked, upset and concerned" at what had happened.

She added: "At 00.01am, the official time of opening, people outside of the controlled queue surged forward, causing a crush at the entrance to the store."

She said police had confirmed a number of injuries, with the stabbing occurring "off Ikea premises" in a separate incident.

She added: "Ikea are deeply shocked, upset and concerned at what occurred. Ikea take the safety and security of its customers and employees very seriously.

"Having opened 12 stores prior to Edmonton in the UK, Ikea could never have predicted and are genuinely overwhelmed at the outcome of the evening and the consequences that the opening of a home furnishing retailer has had.

"Under the current circumstances, Ikea Edmonton will remain closed until further notice. All advertised opening offers have been withdrawn. Ikea would like to express their concern and regret at what has happened at the opening of our new store."

Shopper Jolene Cooper said the experience had been terrifying.

"There were 500 people behind me and they were all trying to get through a three-foot gap.

"They kept on trying to shut the doors and not let anyone in, so all the people behind were pushing me. I was really scared."

Assistant Divisional Officer William Bird, of the London Fire Service, said: "It was extraordinary and to a certain extent unexpected. I have certainly not attended anything like this before."

Cars abandoned on roads around the store had caused "severe congestion", he said.

"That is part of the problem, but also that people were really trying to get in to the store caused enormous problems," Mr Bird said.

"There were crush injuries and people suffering from shock from the pushing and shoving," he added.

A police spokeswoman said the stabbing occurred at about 1.30am and the victim, a man in his 20s, was in a stable condition.

A London ambulance spokesman said: "Six adult patients were treated and taken to hospital, three each to North Middlesex and Whipps Cross hospitals.

"Of these, one man had been stabbed and another patient was experiencing chest pains.

"The four other people were understood to have sustained a range of minor injuries."

A spokeswoman for Scotland Yard confirmed a man in his 20s was stabbed in the area - not the store - at about 1.30am today.

Last September, three men were trampled to death in a rush to claim vouchers when Ikea opened its first store in Saudi Arabia.