IKEA opens first India store in Hyderabad

To satisfy the Indian penchant for ready-made furniture IKEA has set up a 150 member task force to help customers assemble furniture and is also partnering with UrbanClap

Swedish home furnishing giant Ikea will make its second attempt at penetrating the market in India when it opens its first store in the country on Thursday.

"They seem very reasonable", he concluded. A six-piece bowl set with cutlery for kids costs 131 rupees, for example.

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

Ikea will offer more than 1,000 products under 200 rupees ($2.91) but experts say it faces a hard balancing act between setting prices low enough to attract cost-sensitive consumers but high enough to reel in the status-conscious rich. The 400,000-square-foot furniture and home decor showroom will house around 7,500 products, created to integrate within an Indian home but reflective of the Swedish furniture retailer's clean, minimal sensibility and aesthetic.

IKEA's Hyderabad store has come up with an investment of Rs 1,000 crore and and will house a 1,000-seater restaurant, IKEA's largest. Let's see whether it rules the interiors of Indian homes soon. "And we're here to give them another option when it comes to their homes".

AD got an exclusive sneak peek inside the sprawling new IKEA store in Hyderabad!


Speaking to CNNMoney two hours after the store's 10 a.m. opening, Achillea estimated that almost 3,000 customers had already come in.

IKEA India employs 950 people directly and another 1,500 indirectly. IKEA had originally planned to open its first store in India by 2017, but it was delayed.

"I'm more of a DIY guy", he added, referring to the chain's do-it-yourself furniture assembly model. By 2025, the company hopes to have 25 stores in the country. Also, in the decade it took IKEA to enter the Indian market, quite a few startups today offer quirky designs and at home delivery for furniture - such as Urban Ladder, Not So Shabby and others. For instance, in India, the white variation of the company's best-selling Billy bookcase is cheaper by a fifth than in the United States and the dark-grey Ektorp sofa is priced 30 percent lower. IKEA India deputy country manager Patrik Antoni said that though IKEA had made an investment commitment of Rs 10,500 crore while applying for FIPB approval, it has already invested Rs 4,500 crore, including the Hyderabad store building and land as well as land for other stores in the country, and expects to invest more.

"We bring an inspiring, affordable and convenient home furnishing offer", Jesper Brodin said a day before the grand opening of the furniture giant's vast store on the outskirts of the southern city of Hyderabad. "Ikea has never failed; it's never closed a single store in its history". 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 is yet to put a timeframe on when they might open.

June 22, 2012: India's commerce ministry says Ikea may invest 600 million euros (about $700 million) in the country.

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