Swedish home furnishing retailer Ikea, which will inaugurate its first store in India at Hyderabad on Thursday, plans to expand its presence to 25 cities across the country including Ahmedabad, Surat, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata by 2025. However, immediately after Hyderabad, the company has planned stores in Mumbai in 2019, followed by Bengaluru and Gurugram.
“We have a long-term commitment to India, which an important market for us. We bring an inspiring, affordable and convenient home furnishing offer and we are more than ready to meet and understand the needs and dreams in the everyday lives of our customers in India,” said Ikea India CEO Peter Betzel. He said India has a population of nearly 500 million in the age group of 25-35 years which is nearly total population of Europe. “These young people of India are important for us. India is also the fastest growing economy in the world and with a population of 1.3 billion India is an important market for us. We are sourcing over 1,000 products from India and about 1,000 products cost less than Rs 200,” Betzel said. Further, the Hyderabad store, which is expected to see around 7 million visitors every year, the retailer will employ 950 workers directly and 1,500 workers indirectly. In a statement, Ikea said 50 per cent of its employees will be women. “It will also come with a strong and affordable service offer including delivery and assembly to help customers who are not familiar with the DIY (do it yourself) concept just yet,” the company said.
Ikea had originally planned to open the first store in 2017.
However, it was delayed and was scheduled for July 19 this year. The company again pushed it back to August 9 citing quality commitments. The retailer had received the foreign direct investment approval in 2013 for an investment of Rs 10,500 crore and the company has spent half of that amount so far. The store, with an area of 4-lakh square feet, will house a 1,000-seater restaurant that will offer Swedish as well as Indian cuisine.
Of the 7,500 products in the Ikea Hyderabad store, 3,000 products are unique to India. While 1,000 products are sourced from within the country including 100 per cent cotton textiles and some furniture and decorative pieces made of bamboo, about 2,000 products are tailor-made for Indian homes. From coir mattresses to easy to use spice (masala) boxes to special dosa tawas and chapatti pans and idli makers, there are many products that are unique to India. The textiles in the store are all locally sourced and door mats have signs in different in Indian languages. Sofa sets have been designed to fit into small and medium size Indian living rooms.
Ikea officials said they visited over 1,000 homes of various sizes belonging to different income groups to understand the needs and aspirations of people and designed the 2,000 products to suit Indian needs. For instance, most of the furniture products have mini legs because people sweep and mop their homes every day. Ikea’s restaurant will also have 50 per cent Indian and Hyderabadi cuisine. Beef and pork have been replaced by chicken meat balls, while other Indian specialities include biryanis, dal makhani, and samosas, a plate of which is affordably priced at Rs 10.