Curious customers lay on beds and nestled into armchairs Thursday as Ikea opened its first Indian outlet, hoping to wow a burgeoning middle class with offerings tweaked to local tastes, including its famous meatballs. People queued up outside the gates even before the store could throw them open.
IKEA India HR head Anna - Carin Mansson says IKEA has a non-negotiable commitment to hire 50 per cent women co-workers at all levels in India including forklift drivers and assembling co- workers.
Located in the heart of HITEC City, the information technology hub, and close to the posh localities, the store appears to be created to target upper middle-class and the rich.
Swedish home furnishings giant IKEA witnessed the huge response from customers as 40,000 people visited IKEA's first store in India in Hyderabad on the launch day.
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Within just two days of opening its first ever and biggest store in India, Ikea has attracted a footfall of more than 40,000 and this number is set to grow with the weekend approaching. In the next phase, IKEA would cover Ahmedabad, Surat, Pune, Chennai, and Kolkata.
"Now we have embarked on the journey of improving life at Indian homes", he said.
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. "One is the Swedish Unique range and one is the local range", food manager Henrik Osterstrom told AFP. "We met and interacted with 1,000 Indian families to understand what were their dreams, their frustrations and what they want". It developed products for local needs including masala boxes, pressure cookers, tawas, idli makers, colourful sheets and mattresses made with coconut fibre centre. IKEA has invested ₹ 105 billion in India.
The 400,000 sq ft. facility, which has come up with an investment of Rs 1,000 crore, houses the largest restaurant for IKEA anywhere, with a seating capacity of 1,000, serving Swedish and Indian dishes. Like the products, the food is also affordable with biryani priced at Rs 99 and chicken meat balls Rs 149.