Ikea opens in India with chance to capture booming middle class

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Responding to a question from Business Today on key take away from India for the Swedish giant, Jesper Brodin, CEO, IKEA group said, it was really around affordability of the products it offers while ensuring its highest quality standards and those lessons it would want to bring to practice in its future roll outs in other parts of the country and overseas.

IKEA is set to open its Live Oak store months ahead of schedule. "There were also a few tense moments when some people tried breaking queues", store manager John Achillea told IANS.

The company is revising its investment plan, taking into consideration the country's economic growth and geographical dividend.

As Hyderabadiis rushed to store in thousands on day one, entire stretch of the road was jammed with heavy traffic throughout the day.

Indian shoppers aren't used to assembling their furniture themselves, so Ikea is offering to deliver items and install them at people's homes, if they live nearby enough.

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The products displayed in concept room are not for pickup but the customers can note down the details to purchase them in the market hall, which has extensive range of products including home kitchen utensils and accessories, textiles, rugs, lighting, decoration, stationary and even live plants.

The unique shopping experience is incomplete without tasting Indian and Swedish delicacies at a 1,000 seat restaurant, the biggest for Ikea globally. "We have decided that food is important for IKEA and it is important for India as well, so that's why we have the biggest restaurant in the Hyderabad store". The company has invested Rs 4,500 Crore in different projects with India and Rs 1,000 Crore in the first store in Hyderabad with the range of 7,500 products.

"We have changed quite a lot for India". "We met and interacted with 1,000 Indian families to understand what were their dreams, their frustrations and what they want". IKEA will be opening 40 such stores in years to come in Navi Mumbai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Surat, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata.

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. Like the products, the food is also affordable with biryani priced at Rs 99 and chicken meat balls Rs 149.

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