It has taken IKEA twelve years since in its initial proposal, but the Swedish home-furnishing giant is finally all set to open its first store in India in July.
The company, which is the world's biggest furniture retailer, is likely to open its store in Hyderabad on July 10, said Jayesh Ranjan, secretary of Industries forTelangana.
"IKEA's CEO is expected to inaugurate the store and the company has earmarked Rs 800 crore investment for the same," he said.
IKEA's management has also confirmed the Hyderabad store will open to the public in July. The store will be spread across 13 acres of land, with 400,000 square feet of built up area and over 400 employees to help customers choose from a range of over 7,500 products.
The Swedish firm operates through a franchise system and is responding to slower sales growth by pushing into new markets such as India while developing smaller city center store formats.
The company is also investing in its online services to adapt to the surge in e-commerce and home delivery which has dulled the appeal of its out-of-town warehouse stores.
IKEA’s aim is to boost its customer base to 3.2 billion in 2025 from around 1.2 billion today, in stores and online.
India has not been an easy market for IKEA to crack. An initial proposal to open a store here in 2006 was abandoned as New Delhi was very stringent about FDI in single-brand retail at the time. Post relaxation of these norms, the company announced an investment of up to Rs 10,500 crore to open 25 stores in India by 2025.
The country's furniture market is largely dominated by unorganized retail and local vendors, and consumers are used to enjoying the comfort of made-to-order or fully assembled furniture delivered to their doorsteps.
The "do-it-for-me" culture is very prevalent in India, said Sowmya Adiraju, an analyst at research firm Euromonitor, adding IKEA would have to look into delivery and assembly needs to woo Indians.
While IKEA's popular DIY furniture is well known, it is also sometimes parodied as shoppers are at times overwhelmed by the task of assembling intricate units.
The Swedish retailer is setting up a 150-member team to help assemble furniture and is also partnering with UrbanClap, an app-based service that connects people with everyone from tutors to carpenters.
The IKEA in-house assembly team will be more a little more expensive than UrbanClap's services, said Patrik Antoni, IKEA's deputy head in India.
IKEA is also keen on ensuring the Indian consumers' interests and shopping trends are not compromised. Keeping in-line with the company's attempt at ensuring India is the "most cost-effective IKEA experience globally," over a 1000 products in the Hyderabad store will bear a price tag below Rs 200.
To ensure Indians are not bogged down by the DIY or 'do-it-yourself' motto at IKEA, the company has even tied up with home services platform UrbanClap for assembly of its furniture.
"Skilled professionals will now be made available to IKEA customers for unpacking and assembling furniture in under 90 minutes," Varun Khaitan of UrbanClap said.
IKEA is currently working with 50 local suppliers in India and a workforce of 45,000 direct employees. After its maiden store in Hyderabad, the company will open in Mumbai next year followed by Bengaluru and Delhi NCR. Its distribution centre in Pune is already underway.
With input from Reuters) Please come back to CNBC TV18.com for a sneak preview of what's on offer at IKEA Hyderabad, Exclusive interviews with Management, a tour through IKEA's in-store 1000-seater restaurant and all the Assembly action from the IKEA-UrbanClap corner.