- Shoppers were welcomed with India, Sweden flags, army band and cheers
- IKEA plans to open stores in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Gurgaon
- IKEA has tied-up with UrbanClap to help shoppers assemble furniture
Here is the 10-point cheatsheet to the IKEA India store in Hyderabad:
This morning, the first customers - many of them from other cities - queued in the underground car park to escape the heat as an army band played a crowd-pleasing medley inside. "I've come all the way from Bangalore. I am excited to see what's there," garment factory employee Krishna Mohan Dixit, 39, who began lining up 90 minutes before the 10 am opening, told news agency AFP.
A number of dignitaries including Sweden's ambassador to India, Klas Molin, and KT Rama Rao were present.
Over 1,000 products at the Hyderabad store are under Rs 200. A six-piece bowl set with cutlery for kids costs Rs 131, for example.
The 1,000-seat cafeteria, one of India's largest, does not have the famed pork or beef meatballs. The dish has been replaced with chicken or vegetarian options to suit Indian tastes.
Fifty minutes before making the store open to public, the staff treated themselves to a traditional co-worker breakfast.
Some of the popular IKEA products are the Billy bookshelves and Klippan "loveseats". In India, the chain offers "locally relevant products" like masala boxes, tawas or frying pans, rice cake makers and mattresses with a coconut-fibre centre.
The chain, famous for its self-assembly products, is apprehensive about its DIY model. It has tied-up with UrbanClap help shoppers assemble furniture.
After Hyderabad, IKEA plans to open outlets in Mumbai next year, followed by Bengaluru and Gurgaon as it seeks to grab a share of India's estimated $40 billion home goods market. The chian has already bought land int these cities. They'are also eyeing Kolkata, Chennai, Pune and Ahmedabad.
The company, which has employed 950 people directly and another 1,500 indirectly at its store here, plans to hire 15,000 in the coming years as it expands operations in India.
IKEA said it has adopted a "non-negotiable" approach to hire 50 per cent women at all levels in India, even "including forklift drivers and assembling co-workers".
(With inputs from AFP and PTI)