Inside IKEA Hyderabad store on opening day: Band, baaja, bedlam

12 August, 2018, 15:32 | Author: Regina Silva
  • At the Hyderabad IKEA store. All

It was founded in 1943 and is spread over 49 countries. Welcoming the customers, IKEA employees were holding Indian and Swedish employees amid loud music and band, with clappings and cheers. "Everyone in Hyderabad likes biryani so we included that, along with dal makhani, samosas and other things as well", he added.

There are now 403 IKEA stores in 49 countries accounting for sales of 38.3 billion euros. But its previous attempt in 2006 at reaching India's burgeoning middle class fell foul of local regulations. Moreover, 4,000 solar panels have been installed on the roof of the Ikea store in Hyderabad.

To try and ensure it recoups its $1.5-billion investment, the Swedish company has tweaked its offerings to suit Indian tastes, starting with the restaurant, where "Smaklig Maltid - "Enjoy your Meal" in Swedish" is written on the wall.

In Hyderabad, the meatballs are made with chicken rather than beef and pork to fit the Hindu diet. A six-piece bowl set with cutlery for kids costs 131 rupees, for example. "We have long term commitment to India", he said. We have two ranges.

"Food is part of the total experience". And if walking around the gigantic store gets exhausting, a hot cup of coffee with a samosa or cinnamon bun can be an immediate energy booster.

Alongside standard Ikea furniture, "locally relevant products" such as masala boxes, Indian frying pans, rice cake makers and mattresses with a coconut-fibre centre, will be on offer. In fact, the state government is said to have wooed IKEA with expedited land allotments and permissions and even a potential metro station opposite the store. IKEA is famous for its affordable and ready to assemble furniture.

John Achillea, IKEA's Managing Director for Telangana, Telangana's IT Minister K.T. Rama Rao and other key individuals of the Sweden-based furniture retail company inaugurated the store.

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New stores are to be opened in Navi Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Surat, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata.

But analysts warn that profits won't come quickly or easily.

It was the living room section that attracted most attention with curious customers testing the softness of the sofas and stretching out on the king-sized beds.

Some locals in Hyderabad said they would take a look. "I have never been to an IKEA store before". They have got some good items.

According to IKEA, which expects the Hyderabad store to see more than 6-7 million visitors a year, there were some interesting insights from the social media.

"It will be a flop, I tell you", he told AFP. "The regular furniture consumer will stay with the more solid wood available in the Indian market". I don't think it will give us much competition.

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