New Delhi, August 10, News24 Bureau: IKEA is a popular home furnishing store the world-over and its opening was eagerly awaited in India. There was a near-stampede like situation at the public opening of Swedish home furnishing brand in Hyderabad, yesterday. At one point of time it appeared that managing crowd is impossible for the authorities.
Popular Swedish home furnishings major IKEA has opened its first store in India. With this it has kicked off its retail journey five years after it received approval to invest in the country's single-brand retail sector.The company is opening major job opportunities in India and has employed 950 people directly and another 1,500 indirectly at its store here. It plans to hire 15,000 in the coming years as it expands operations in India.IKEA Group CEO Jesper Brodin said the opening of the first store in India marks a milestone in the company's journey here which began over three decades ago through sourcing of products."We have a long term commitment to India, which is an important market for us," he added.The store here is the first of 25 such outlets planned to be set up in India by 2025. In 2013, IKEA received nod from the government to invest Rs 10,500 crore in single-brand retail.IKEA had originally planned to open its first store in India by 2017, but it was delayed. The opening of its first store here was scheduled for July 19 this year but the company again pushed it back by almost 20 days to August 9, citing quality commitments.Out of the total outlay of Rs 10,500 crore, the company has so far invested Rs 4,500 crore in its different projects in India.The company said it would increase its investments in India as it looks to accelerate expansion in the country faster than it would usually do elsewhere."As we see big opportunities in India, we believe that we will increase this investment as we continue expansion in India in future," it said.After Hyderabad, Ikea's second store would be in Mumbai next year, followed by Bengaluru and Delhi-NCR.IKEA said is has adopted a "non-negotiable" approach to hire 50 per cent women at all levels in India, even "including forklift drivers and assembling co-workers".