IKEA plans ‘paisa vasool’ debut

(Image: www.financialexpress.com)

Exactly five years and five months after IKEA decided to invest around INR 10,500 crore in the India market, the Swedish furnishing gaint is ready for launch in Hyderabad with its range of Stenlille rugs to Kivik sofas, Kvist bro storage tables to Poang armchairs, and all the rest that’s sold across its 403 stores in 51 countries.  Hyderabad is the first lndian city and India the 52nd country-to get IKEA, the largest foreign investor in the country’s single-brand retail sector so far. Serbia was the last new market for the group.

A day before the launch of Hej Home, an experience centre and a miniature version of IKEA’s signature store, John Achillea, MD, IKEA Telangana  told that now India would be the lowest priced market for the group. Till now, it was Poland.  While giving a guided tour of the first IKEA in India, Achillea said 200 to 300 products to be sold in the country would cost less than INR 200. Though the final prices are still to be decided, the range will vary from INR 50 to a few lakhs.

The innovations for the store are based on more than 1,000 inputs from across the country. The idea should also be “paisa vasool”, according to Achillea, who has been with the group for 21 years (from Wembley to New York to St Louis). The first glimpse of IKEA in the country is a display of a 786-sq. ft. home with a family of four—typically meant for young parents, who are perhaps IT professionals, and their two children. Storage space and functionality define its designs—whether it is in the living room or bedroom, kitchen or hallway or bathroom. Wooden chairs hanging on the wall (Ter je) to laptop holders inside a coffee table, design-it-yourself cupboards to almirahs to both showcase and hide things, and steps that double up as side tables.

As teams, which have gathered here from around the world, get on with their drills to set up the store perfectly, a job notice at the IKEA entrance stands out, attracting curious onlookers. “Now hiring for sales, cashier, logistics, restaurant, furniture assemblers…,” the company has announced while giving out the finer details of the employment terms. Achillea said Indian consumers could now see and play around with IKEA products at the experience centre inside a popular mall at the city’s happening Hitec City, so that when the 13-acre store at Gachibowli, a few minutes’ drive from Hej Home, is launched in the Spring of 2018, the city knows what to expect. Buying has to wait till then.

Meanwhile, marketing has hit its peak with hundreds of blue-and-yellow hoardings spread across the city from the airport to Banjara Hills, Hitec City and beyond. Direct mailers will follow soon. The target is to get as many as 8 million visitors to the Hyderabad store in a year, and the group wants to sign up at least 100,000 members at the experience centre before the big store opens. Hej Home is only for about six months, till the big store comes in. A relatively new concept, Hej Home has been tried only in three countries before India —South Korea, China and Japan. In all, the subsequent store launches in India (Mumbai, Bengaluru, Gurgaon over the coming years), the miniature concept will be repeated.

(Source: Business Standard)

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