The Indian economy may be grappling with a consumption slowdown, but Ikea Group, the world’s largest furniture retailer, remains upbeat about the company's prospects and performance in the country.
"We have a 35-year-old love story with India," Jesper Brodin, CEO of Ikea Group, told CNBC-TV18's Shereen Bhan in Davos in an exclusive interview.
Stating that Ikea's relationship with India is a win-win situation, Brodin said: "We started with sourcing, we have production now. Ikea Foundation has invested more than 300 million euros in programmes in India and we have stepped into retail. Our relationship with India is give and take and a win-win one."
According to Brodin, the biggest learning for the company in India is about quality. "Owing to the humidity we had to rethink some of our furniture, so actually India has helped improve Ikea's quality. India did not teach us but India told us this quality is not good enough for us with humidity. So, we had to actually do some innovation to improve our standards and that is now of benefit to everybody," he pointed out.
The CEO is also excited about Ikea's e-commerce foray. "The Asian story is amazing because the customers adapt to new technologies fast. We have put up a distribution set-up and have taken the first stumbling steps in offering our products online. The customers are there. So, we have a lot to learn. It will take us many years to cover all of India and all the geographies but we have taken the first step," he said.The company has made investments in sites in metro cities such as Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai, and is looking at all major cities. "It is going to take a couple of years to get all our assets up and running. We are also looking at shopping centres," Brodin added.