Finally, after a long wait, we have the first ever IKEA store in India and lucky for me it’s in Hyderabad. So today morning first thing on my agenda was obviously going there and checking it out and OMG what a huge, fabulous store!
As I entered the parking, I heard the music playing and crowd cheering. The moment I step foot inside I saw a LIVE Band playing to cheer up all the customers followed by IKEA staff members in blue-and-yellow company polo shirts who had packed themselves at the stairway, waving Indian and Sweden flags cheering everyone up and welcoming us with warm smiles.
The fun began when I started browsing through every little thing like a 3-year-old kid who is left into a store full of toys. I have been a fan of IKEA’s products ever since I have heard of IKEA and to see all those amazing pieces was pure satisfaction. The interior has a noticeable local feel too, with Indian-design bedspreads and framed photos of the Taj Mahal and other Indian monuments. The store will open throughout the week from 10 AM to 11 PM.
To give you some stats IKEA has invested Rs 1000 crore on the Hyderabad outlet which spreads across four-lakh square feet and will display over 7,500 products. This is the first of the 40+ outlets that this Swedish multinational plans to open in the country. The products are spread across a wide range and it is said around 1000 products cost less than Rs 200. IKEA store in Hyderabad is directly employing 950 people, while an additional 1500 are employed indirectly in services.
The store exhibits different room sets according to different sections of the house such as kitchen, bedroom, living room and children’s room. The store also has a 1000-seater restaurant which is touted to be IKEA’s largest and possibly India’s largest restaurant with an elaborate menu. IKEA will open its next store in Mumbai which is still under construction and is expected to be open by summer next year.
While there is a lot of excitement, there is also some skepticism about the venture. People aren’t too sure about the assembled furniture concept made of all compressed wood instead of Indian wood. Also, speculations are that the regular furniture consumer will stick with the more solid wood available in the Indian market. All in all, I am very happy and excited, the only flaw that I can point out cause my feet are literally hurting right now is that even if I know what I want and from which section, I have to walk through the complete store and then through the whole market hall to exit. I hope it is just for a few days to make the consumer aware of all the products inside and that there will be multiple exits at different points later.
Have fun at IKEA Hyderabad!