Furniture giant IKEA's first India store opens today 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

Ikea expects as many as 6 million visitors annually at the store in the Hyderabad suburb known as Hitec City, a town full of new apartment towers where multinationals like Amazon.com, Dell Inc. and Deloitte have offices.

The store will remain open 365 days from between 10.00 am - 11.00 pm. It sells a wide range of home furnishing products.

As per reports, Ikea had conducted a deep market research to understand Indian consumers' mindset and inclinations. As many as 936 million customers visited IKEA stores in FY17 and more than 2.3 billion people visited IKEA online.

AD got an exclusive sneak peek inside the sprawling new IKEA store in Hyderabad! It said it will offer delivery and assembly service to its customers who are not familiar with the DIY (do it yourself) concept.

Ikea will sell products tailored for India's market, such as kitchen appliances for making traditional rice cakes, but experts warn that getting consumers to abandon their trusted woodworker for larger items will be tricky and take time. To solve that problem, IKEA is offering assemblage solutions to buyers.

If two-seat sofas costing as little as ₹5,990 and ₹7,990 double-bed frames aren't enough to lure shoppers, the Hyderabad store features a 1,000-seat restaurant-one of the largest across Ikea's 400-strong global chain-that will serve a mix of Nordic and local dishes, including biryani for ₹99 a plate. The café will offer coffee, bakes, frozen yogurt and many more for purchase.

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The company, which has flagged import duties in India as a big challenge as it tries to keep prices low, has to source at least 30 percent of its raw materials locally within five years of operations in the country as per Indian regulation. The food will also be at affordable prices. 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. So far, IKEA has spent around half the amount.

It has invested Rs 1,000 crore on the Hyderabad store alone, which has a built up area of 4 lakh sq ft. "As we see big opportunities in India, we believe that we will increase this investment as we continue expansion in India in future", Brodin said.

IKEA Group CEO Jesper Brodin told PTI the company has also identified four more cities in India where it plans to set up its stores but did not disclose details.

Ikea, which reported revenues of $39 billion in 2017 globally, exports €350 million of product from India and has 50-plus suppliers.

At the Hyderabad store, it now has 8 female forklift drivers and has recruited around 100 girls from the DISHA pilot project.

December 6, 2017: Ikea announces plan to hire more than 14,600 people in India by 2025 and says half of them must be women. This will be followed by Bengaluru and Gurugram in the following years.

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