Ikea opening in India brings traffic to standstill

IKEA's researched for more than a decade before entering the Indian market

Some said have shopped for furniture at IKEA stores in California, while others said they have dined at the retailer's swanky restaurant in Sweden.

Some 380 million Indians, a population bigger than the entire US, will join the middle class in the seven years through 2022.

Swedish flat pack furniture giant Ikea has opened its first store in India, drawing huge crowds and bringing traffic to a standstill. The opening of its first store here was scheduled for July 19 this year but the company again pushed it back by nearly 20 days to August 9, citing quality commitments.

"Ikea has an opportunity to pioneer modern retailing in the home improvement sector", said Ankur Bisen, head of retail and consumer division at Technopak Advisors Pvt., an Indian consulting firm based near New Delhi. IKEA so far employed 950 people directly and another 1,500 indirectly at its store.

Pradeep Chandra, during their first meeting, is said to have provided Brodin with a 10-point list on why Hyderabad would be the ideal destination to set up its first store.


The Hyderabad store, located in the heart of HITEC City area close to posh localities, is as big as 10 football grounds. Actually it's my wife who got me here. "We plan to refurbish it". The store and the competitive pricing of some of the items is a delight for those looking to do up their homes, with elegantly designed furniture, home decorations items, colourful accessories and knick knacks inviting shoppers to pick them up and take them home. Keeping in mind the average Indian customer, the company also ensured a low price item in the majority.

In Hyderabad, the meatballs are made with chicken rather than beef and pork to fit the Hindu diet. There were also few tense moments when some people broke queue to force their entry.

The furniture lineup includes more folding chairs and stools - flexible seating - for Indian households where relatives tend to pop in. And since children often sleep in the same room as their parents, one model bedroom includes a child's bed amid all the furniture.

Spread over 4 lakh square feet, the store has a grand cafeteria that can seat 1,000 people and a range of over 7,000 products spread into two floors.

Venkatesh Pola, a 38-year-old pharmacist from a nearby town, who'd bought a stool and some glassware, said he loved the store's automatic checkout. "But after doing it myself, I feel great".

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