IKEA finally opens first outlet in India

After some delays, Sweden’s furniture retail company IKEA on Thursday opened its first outlet in India in the southern city of Hyderabad. Some 200 excited shoppers rushed in as the doors of the showroom were flung open at 10 am. The 400,000-square feet store has more than 1,000 products priced below Rs200 ($2.92) to attract lower middle class shoppers in a country of 1.25 billion. Besides the standard IKEA furniture, local products like masala boxes, tawas (frying pans), idli cookers (rice cake makers) and mattresses made of coir (coconut-fibre) are available. IKEA plans to open 25 such outlets in Indian cities in the next seven years. It has already acquired land for outlets in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Gurgaon. Since Indian customers are not used to self-assembly products, IKEA has teamed with UrbanClap to help them. The Hyderabad outlet has hired 950 people directly and 1,500 indirectly. IKEA has decided to hire 50 per cent women at all levels in India including forklift drivers and assembling co-workers. One of IKEA’s main challenges is finding enough space for its large stores.