Ikea’s first India store is ready for customers

Posted at 3:45 AM, Aug 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-08 05:45:43-04

After years of waiting, Ikea is finally set to take on one of the world’s biggest markets.

The Swedish furniture company will open its first retail store in India to customers on Thursday morning, where it anticipates as many as 7 million visitors a year.

The new store is spread across 400,000 square feet in the southern city of Hyderabad, part of Ikea’s plans to invest 105 billion rupees ($1.5 billion) in India over the next several years.

Related: Ikea was shut out of India for years. Now it’s going big

It aims to have 25 outlets across the country by 2025. The next store is slated to open in Mumbai in 2019, followed by Bangalore and Gurgaon, on the outskirts of Delhi.

Ikea plans to eventually spread its iconic blue-and-yellow stores across more than 40 Indian cities. The company said it will spend about 10 billion rupees ($145 million) on each store it opens in the country.

“We are making a long-term commitment,” Ikea’s India CEO Peter Betzel told reporters in Hyderabad on Wednesday. “India will be the future.”

Betzel said India’s population of 1.3 billion, more than 50% of whom are under the age of 25, makes it a hugely attractive market.

The company has sourced materials for its global operations from India for around three decades. But it was prevented from opening stores because of government restrictions on foreign investment.

Those rules have since been eased, but Ikea still ran into headaches getting its first outlet up and running.

This week’s grand opening was originally scheduled to happen last month, but the company delayed it because of quality concerns.