HYDERABAD: IKEA’s first store in the country, which was opened here on Thursday, is drawing a huge crowd. On the opening day itself, over 40,000 people visited the Swedish home furnishings major‘s first store in the subcontinent. The response was in line with the expectations. Store manager John Achillea had stated that they were expecting 40,000 to 45,000 people.
However, the company spokesperson was not ready to share the numbers relating to the business transacted on the first day.
With huge crowd thronging the store in the evening, the IKEA staff found it a bit challenging to regulate the entry. There were also few tense moments when some people broke queue to force their entry.
IKEA is spending $1.5 billion in India but analysts reckon it is going to be several years before the company with a presence in 49 countries starts seeing significant returns on that investment. The home goods retailer has already spent close to $750 million procuring Indian sites for four stores, including the massive, new 400,000-square-feet outlet in Hyderabad.
According to retail experts, prising Indians away from local furniturel makers that they trust is going to be difficult for IKEA.
Drawn by the aggressive marketing campaign including advertisements with the prices of affordable products, a large number of visitors from several parts of the city thronged the store.
Many were curious to see the offering from an international brand. They were seen checking the price tag and feeling the products like beds, mattresses and chairs.
Several visitors were seen in the 1,000-seater restaurant, which is the biggest for IKEA in its global network. The 400,000 sq.ft store offers 7,500 products including 1,000 products priced below Rs 200.
The first India store of IKEA was opened with an investment of Rs.1,000 crore, five years after the world`s largest single brand retailer received government approval in 2013 to invest Rs 10,500 crore to open 25 stores in India by 2025.The company now revised the number of stores to 40 across all formats.
IKEA revolutionised furniture buying in the West with its with its wide range of ready-to-assemble products at affordable prices but many Indians would be forgiven for wondering why they have to do it themselves.