SHANGHAI - When it's sweltering in Shanghai, do as the locals do and settle down for a nap at Ikea - if you can find an open bed.
Chinese have a peculiar penchant for making themselves at home in the Swedish retailer's air-conditioned showrooms, snoozing on beds, dozing on couches, and eating at dinner tables - and the phenomenon is on full display as the sweltering summer sets in.
With the mercury pushing 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 F) and outside feeling distinctly muggy, people from all walks of life - children with parents, couples, and the elderly - can be seen lounging and even, somehow, catching a few Zs amid the crush of shoppers.
Apparently recognising the potential profit that comes from increased footfall, Ikea has long tolerated serving as a surrogate living room for Chinese consumers, many of whom live in tiny apartments and appear to revel in stretching out on a spacious sofa.
But an Ikea store in Shanghai last year imposed a "no food, no seating" rule in its popular cafeteria, which had reportedly become the chosen venue for many widowed or divorced elderly seeking a romantic match.
Ikea's Chinese couch potatoes are expected to remain out in force for the time being.The Shanghai Meteorological Bureau issued a yellow heatwave signal this week, which warns of temperatures climbing past 35 degrees Celsius.