India consumers seek sofas and spoons as Ikea opens its doors

Ikea opens first India store, expects 7 million visitors per year

About 40,000 people visited IKEA's first India store on the opening day here, a company spokesperson told IANS.

Ikea, the famous Swedish furniture brand, officially opened its first megastore in India on Thursday.

Inside the store, many shoppers said they were excited to discover that the India store is no different from any other IKEA store, be it in Sweden, US or Singapore. Its officials on Wednesday said they plan to approach the government with revised investment figures.

The large gathering of visitors also led to severe traffic snarls on the main road outside the highway.

The 1,000-seater restaurant also witnessed huge rush, which according to Ikea, is its largest restaurant in the world.

"We have two kinds of dishes available; one is with the unique Swedish identity and local dishes from India".

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There was traffic jam situation in front of the huge 4 lakh sft store located in the heart of HITEC City, the hub of information technology.

The store will offer 7,500 affordable home furnishing products under one roof with more than 1,000 products priced under 200 rupees.

Bringing its world-class shopping experience to India, Ikea has designed the store in a manner which tempt customers into buying something after a long walk through the store that is the equivalent of 10 football grounds. The IKEA restaurant will offer 50 per cent Swedish specialities like salmon and chicken and vegetarian meatballs and 50 per cent local delicacies like biryani, samosas, dal makhni in the case of Hyderabad. 'We conducted over 1,000 home visits to understand the culture and the demands of consumers, and ensure affordability, ' says Ulf Smedberg, country marketing manager, Ikea India, who has spent the past four years in the country.

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. Ikea's 400,000-square-foot Hyderabad store is the first step in the retailer's plans for India, with more outlets scheduled to debut in Mumbai, Bengaluru and the New Delhi area soon after.

The man behind IKEA picking Hyderabad for its India foray is Principal Secretary (Industries) at the time, Pradeep Chandra.

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