Amid much fanfare, IKEA has opened its first store in India in Hyderabad. But back in 2013, when IKEA was scouting for a suitable place to set up its first store, Hyderabad didn’t even figure on its list. IKEA was in fact planning to set up shop in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.
The man behind IKEA picking Hyderabad for its India foray is Principal Secretary (Industries) at the time, Pradeep Chandra. Around the time when Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rules were eased in India, IKEA had shown interest in entering the Indian market.
“We came across a newspaper report that IKEA had plans to set up its stores in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. I then sent a mail personally to Jesper Brodin, CEO of IKEA,” Pradeep said, while addressing the media at the opening of the IKEA Hyderabad store.
Jesper Brodin took note of it and visited India only on the condition that Pradeep should convince him on why IKEA should set up their first store in Hyderabad.
Pradeep Chandra, during their first meeting, is said to have provided Brodin with a 10-point list on why Hyderabad would be the ideal destination to set up its first store. Brodin returned to Sweden and told Chandra that if he can get him back to India again, he would promise him a flight to Sweden.
The persuasion continued and thanks to Pradeep’s persistence, IKEA agreed to set up shop in Hyderabad. In fact, the state government is said to have wooed IKEA with expedited land allotments and permissions and even a potential metro station opposite the store.
Chandra said that even after he left office, his successor followed up on his strategies and helped IKEA begin its India operations in three years.
IKEA laid the foundation stone of its store in Hyderabad on August 11, 2016.
Speaking at the store opening, Brodin said that in fact if they had chosen Mumbai or NCR, IKEA would have opened only a year later in India.
IKEA officially opened the doors of its first India store on August 9, which saw most of Hyderabad rushing to get a feel of the home décor store. More than 40,000 people reportedly visited the store on day 1.
Spread over 4 lakh square feet, the IKEA Hyderabad store has a range of 7,500 products, 20% of which are locally sourced and 1,000 are made in India. Harping on affordability to attract Indian customers, IKEA has priced over 1,000 products under Rs 200.
It also has a 1,000-seater restaurant, IKEA’s largest globally. It has 50% Swedish and 50% Indian local delicacies and the pricing starts as low as Rs 10 for a plate of Samosa.
With inputs from Shilpa S Ranipeta