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Ikea's sofas and spoons in demand as first store opens in Hyderabad

12 August 2018

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.

The road leading from hi-tech city to biodiversity on which IKEA store is located was seen having very heavy traffic yesterday as Hyderabadiis visited the store on day-1 in huge numbers. About 10,000 customers had visited the store by 4 pm but the crowds swelled later as thousands of office goers headed to the shopping place while returning home from offices. "We can not wait to bring customers in the San Antonio area the unique IKEA shopping experience and will begin to transform the interior space over the next few months".

Ikea's boss promised Wednesday to meet the "needs, frustrations and dreams" of local consumers with the Swedish firm's first Indian store, its second attempt to break into a vast but hard market.

The company now revised the number of stores to 40 across all formats.

Officials told reporters that they would approach the Indian government for approval to pump in more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) but declined to give the timeline or the quantum of the additional investment.

Peter Betzel, CEO, IKEA India, said IKEA's next store would open in Mumbai next summer and this would be followed by stores in Bengaluru and Delhi. In the next phase, IKEA also plans to cover Ahmedabad, Surat, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata. Reports say that the traffic jam was so huge that IKEA employees had to assist the customers and guiding them about the traffic situation.

To overcome Indians' aversion to assembling their furniture, with people used to small, family-owned firms providing a bespoke service, Ikea teamed up with UrbanClap, an online platform connecting handymen with consumers.

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Notably, she appeared in the TNT drama The Alienist , which starred famed actress Dakota Fanning . Young worked at the location sometime in the past but was sacked months ago, TMZ reported.

This is something Mr. Brodin had highlighted during an event at the store on Wednesday and sought to underscore the need for the IKEA to become accessible to more people in the country.

As the sprawling store has come up in the heart of Hyderabad Information Technology and Engineering Consultancy City (HITEC), majority of the customers were techies. However, Ikea claims it is for everyone, irrespective of size of their wallet.

The retail store is built on 13 acres of land spanning over 400,000 sq ft. One finds a set of four spoons for as low as Rs 15. We did not know this.

"Unlike countries like China, Taiwan and Korea, people in India celebrate at home and we promise to improve their everyday life", he said. There are now 419 IKEA stores in 49 countries, including 48 in the U.S. IKEA has been included in rankings of "Best Companies to Work For" and strives to be an employer of choice. "One is the Swedish unique range and one is the local range", the company said.

Alongside standard Ikea furniture like Billy bookshelves and Klippan "loveseats", the chain has "locally relevant products" like masala boxes, Indian frying pans called tawas, rice cake makers and mattresses with a coconut-fibre centre.

The man behind IKEA picking Hyderabad for its India foray is Principal Secretary (Industries) at the time, Pradeep Chandra. The new outlet will sell more than 7,500 products, including a thousand priced below Rs200. It also tailored 2,000 products from its range to suit Indian needs, taking into consideration climatic realities such as dust and humidity.

The store houses a 1,000-seater restaurant, IKEA's largest and possibly India's largest restaurant, a cafe which will offer coffee, bakes, frozen yogurt and many more for purchase, a kids' play area named Smaland where customers can leave their children safely.

Ikea's sofas and spoons in demand as first store opens in Hyderabad