Lead Story

Ikea’s India Play

With a focus on affordability and variety, the Sweden-based furnishing major has scripted a success story in almost every country it operates in. Will the script play out here?

RA Chandroo

A sprawling office with impeccable interiors meets my eye as I reach the 10th floor of Mfar Building in Manyata Tech Park, Bengaluru. The lounge area is cozy and informal with bright coloured chairs and is followed by a large, open-format seating. A few meters away is a 6 ft tall white wooden unit, which houses a coffee machine in the centre and well-stocked jars of quick bites such as peanuts, chips and biscuits in the adjoining shelves. A dark brown wooden deck doubles up as the balcony and runs around the entire exterior of the well-lit room, giving it the look and feel of a spacious home, not an office. And why not? After all, this office houses the world’s largest furniture retailer that has been specialising in home furnishing for over seven decades — Ikea. 

The Swedish company, founded in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad, is present in 49 countries with 403 stores globally. Ikea’s classic blue and yellow signage is among the most recognised logos in the world. Through its big-box retail stores located on the outskirts of a town, the company specialises in providing affordable home furnishing options to its customers. These large-format stores are supplemented by smaller format ‘Hej Homes’ located within the city. The company has also been focusing on strengthening its e-commerce presence for a generation that chooses convenience over experience. Across its retail formats, Ikea reported revenue of €38.3 billion last year (September 2016-August 2017). From beds and sofas to cutlery and showpieces, Ikea stocks almost everything that a home might need in terms of furnishing. 

Not surprisingly then, there is growing enthusiasm as the furniture major gears up to launch their first store in India. “India is an exciting country and an emerging market with a lot of spending power, growth potential and good GDP. Plus it is a young country. Our vision is to contribute to make life better for our customers. We want to se

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