IKEA opens first Indian store in Hyderabad: 10 things to know

Lloyd Doyle
August 9, 2018

What started as a trickle of shoppers at 10 a.m., when the store opened, had turned into a steady stream about an hour later.

"It's wonderful, and I'm so glad that they are here", said Shalini Shandilya, another first-time visitor who said she was familiar with Ikea but had never been inside one of its stores.

Ikea's 13-acre (5.3 hectare) inaugural site will be on the outskirts of the southern city of Hyderabad, where the company said it expects to generate up to seven million visitors per year.

Founded in 1943 by late Swedish entrepreneur Ingvar Kamprad, Ikea now has 403 stores in 49 countries, with a sales volume of 38.3 billion euros. But its previous attempt in 2006 at reaching India's burgeoning middle class fell foul of local regulations.

It took 12 years, but IKEA has finally opened its first store in India in Hyderabad.

Differences between Hyderabad and the furniture giant's 355 outlets elsewhere will include a 1,000-seater restaurant, which is its biggest worldwide. The beef and pork in the famous Swedish meatballs have been replaced with chicken and now shares space with biryanis, dal makhani and samosas, a plate of which is affordably priced at Rs 10. "We've been looking for a sofa, outside they cost 15,000 or 16,000 rupees ($233), but in here I saw one for only 11,000 ($160)". "We work with 48 suppliers in India, engaging over 45,000 direct co-workers and approximately 400,000 coworkers in our extended supply chain". We have two ranges.

Additionally, Ikea is also offering items that have been tailored to match the Indian way of life.

"Food is part of the total experience".

Alongside standard Ikea furniture, "locally relevant products" such as masala boxes, Indian frying pans, rice cake makers and mattresses with a coconut-fibre centre, will be on offer.

At a news conference on the eve of the store's grand opening, Mr Brodin said: "We bring an inspiring, affordable and convenient home furnishing offer".

The store was opened amidst cheerful Ikea management and staff with the ribbon cutting by a customer.

Given Indians' dislike of DIY methods, IKEA has put together an in-house furniture assembly team that will help customers assemble tables, beds and book cases. The firm also met 1,000 families to try to understand their needs.

Based on feedback from its home visits, Ikea expects a majority of sales in India to come from the living room and kitchen categories, the company's country sales manager, Christian Kampe, said.

After Hyderabad, Ikea's second store would be in Mumbai next year, followed by Bengaluru and Delhi-NCR. "Profitability will take time".

But Mohammad Noor, a city businessman, told AFP that while he would "watch and wait", he thinks Indian products are better quality.

According to the company 936 million customers visited its stores in FY17 and more than 2.3 billion people visited IKEA online.

Hyderabad, India, is home to a 16th-century mosque, several ornate palaces. and soon, the world's largest IKEA cafeteria.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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