'Namaste, Welcome to India': Urban Ladder greets IKEA with this sweet message

At the Hyderabad IKEA store. All

The first India store was opened five years after IKEA received government approval in 2013 to invest Rs 10,500 crore to open 25 stores in India by 2025.

400,000 sq ft floor area, 7,500 products, including 1,000 priced below Rs 200.

"People are congregating like it's Black Friday or Boxing Day", said Twitter user Flying Sam.

IKEA store was formally opened to public in the presence of KT Rama Rao, Telangana Industries and IT Minister, along with Sweden Ambassador Klas Molin, Jesper Brodin, CEO, IKEA Group and Peter Betzel, CEO, IKEA India.

A store in Navi Mumbai next summer, followed by Bengaluru and Delhi.

It was the living room section that attracted most attention with curious customers testing the softness of the sofas and stretching out on the king-sized beds.

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Though shoppers began trickling in from 10am, the store opening time, the numbers swelled as the day progressed and shoppers continuted to flock the outlet till the closing time of 11pm. In the next phase, IKEA would cover Ahmedabad, Surat, Pune, Chennai and Kolkatta.

Ikea officials promise there is something that everyone can buy for their homes. Naveen Chintala, who works with a US-based telecommunications firm in the city, too was pleasantly surprised to find the store a replica of the Sweden outlets. "Friends, families, festivals and food all happen at home", Patrik Antoni told IANS.

Ikea, in tune with its philosophy, has come out with home furnishing solutions for India by taking people's inputs. "The best part is that this store looks the same as IKEA's other global stores".

Alongside standard IKEA furniture like Billy bookshelves and Klippan "loveseats", the chain will offer "locally relevant products" like masala boxes, Indian frying pans called tawas, rice cake makers and mattresses with a coconut-fibre centre. 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. It also tailored 2,000 products from its range to suit Indian needs, taking into consideration climatic realities such as dust and humidity.

The Indian IKEA restaurant seats 1000 people and has a menu of local dishes and adapted IKEA stables such as Swedish köttbullar med potatismos (meatballs and mashed potatoes).

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