HUGE queues formed this morning as IKEA Gateshead reopened its doors after almost ten weeks of remaining closed.

On Monday, hundreds of eager shoppers could be seen as they snaked their way into the premises near Gateshead's Metrocentre.

IKEA had closed its UK sites in March following orders from the Prime Minister Boris Johnson for all 'non-essential' retail to shut.

Before the PM said all non-essential retail could reopen in mid-June, retailers that sold homeware were permitted to reopen.

Last week, IKEA announced that all of its stores across the UK would reopen on June 1.

This was the scene at IKEA Gateshead this morning.

The Northern Echo:

Scores could be seen queuing to enter the Gateshead store Picture: NORTH NEWS

IKEA said all play areas and restaurants will stay shut, but said its food courts would remain open.

Bosses had previously asked shoppers to "come prepared with ready-made lists and own bags" for the reopening.

The Northern Echo:

IKEA has ramped up safety measures Picture: NORTH NEWS

Click and collect facilities are also opening in a phased approach and in line with Government guidelines, with Ikea saying this will depend on which UK region stores are in.

Extra hand sanitiser and more deep cleans of bags, trolleys, bathrooms, equipment and touchscreens will take place.

Cash will not be accepted, with all payments by card or contactless device only.

Meanwhile, IKEA said customers should avoid travelling to stores just to process refunds because it has a 365-day returns policy.

The Northern Echo:

The majority could be seen keeping 2m apart Picture: NORTH NEWS

The Northern Echo:

Queues took significantly longer than at other retail sites Picture: NORTH NEWS