Homeware brand IKEA opens first store in Hyderabad; chucks pork and beef out the menu to suit ‘local taste’

Noted Swedish homeware brand IKEA opened its first store in Hyderabad after it was allowed to invest in the country’s single-brand retail sector five years ago. The store was inaugurated by Telangana IT minister KT Rama Rao. The shopkeepers were welcomed with Sweden flags and a band.

The store is located on the state’s outskirts and is one of 25 outlets that will be built in the next seven years.

“We are super excited to finally meet you, Hyderabad,” IKEA India wrote on Instagram. A number of dignitaries including Sweden’s ambassador to India, Klas Molin, and KT Rama Rao were present.

“I’ve come all the way from Bangalore. I am excited to see what’s there,” garment factory employee Krishna Mohan Dixit, 39, who had arrived early, told news agency AFP.

The cafeteria, which boasts of 1,000 seats had replaced famed pork or beef meatballs with chicken and vegetarian options to suit the local taste. In addition, “locally relevant products” like masala boxes, tawas or frying pans, rice cake makers and mattresses with a coconut-fibre centre were present.

IKEA is planning to open a second outlet in Mumbai next year followed by Bengaluru and Gurgaon in an arena of India’s estimated $40 billion home goods market. The company has employed 950 people directly and another 1,500 indirectly. It is also planning 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”.



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