Abigail Klein Leichman
September 7, 2017, Updated February 1, 2023

Israeli shoppers were super excited about the first Israeli branch of the French sporting goods superstore Decathlon opening in Rishon LeZion’s G Mall on August 29.

So excited, in fact, that more than 25,000 of them flocked to the 3,000-square-meter (32,000-square-foot) store during its first four days in business and purchased everything in sight. Decathlon had to close the store on Sunday, September 3, to restock the shelves and announced it would open again at 9am September 4.

The shopper crush was reminiscent of massive traffic jams caused by approximately 30,000 people trying to get to the 2001 opening of IKEA’s first Israeli branch in Israel, in Netanya.

Some 3,500 shoppers visited IKEA’s second branch in Israel, also in Rishon LeZion, within the first hour of its grand opening in March 2010. That first day saw about 14,000 consumers roaming through the 34,000-square-meter mega store – the largest IKEA store in the Middle East – to shop for inexpensive Swedish furniture and home décor and to dine in its 500-seat kosher Swedish restaurant.

A mob also gathered for the March 2010 debut of Swedish chain H&M’s first retail outlet in Israel. Swarms of shoppers were queued up at 6 in the morning for the 11am opening of H&M in Tel Aviv’s Azrieli Center. About 1,000 people proceeded to wreak havoc with the inventory inside the 2,000-square-meter fashion store that day, and fights erupted on the checkout line as waiting times stretched to 90 minutes.

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