Ikea has opened in its first store in the Republic of Ireland with a 339,000 sq ft (31,500 sq m) unit in Ballymun on the north side of Dublin.

Despite opening day enthusiasm from excited shoppers, Ikea was forced to scale back its ambitions for the store as Irish retail sales have slid around 18 per cent so far this year.

Overall figures are forecast to fall by 14 per cent in 2009, according to a Reuters poll, as the country bears the brunt of a second straight year of record recession.

The store’s manager, Garry Deakin, said: “Our forecasts are no longer where they were three years ago when we started building the store.

“Most furniture retailers are looking at a (sales) drop of between 12 and 15 oer cent. I think it is fair to say that our forecast is closer to maybe 85 per cent of its original. Our concept is a low-price formula and therefore we are entering the market at a time when maybe people don’t have the same amount of money to spend on home furnishing.”