India in no rush to open first Ikea store

The India chief of Swedish giant Ikea said in a newspaper interview published Thursday that the chain is willing to wait years to find the right location to open its first Indian store.

India in no rush to open first Ikea store

The first Ikea store to open in India may not open for years, with the India head of the Swedish furniture giant prepared to wait years if needed to find the perfect location.

The Indian government approved last week Ikea’s 105-billion rupees ($1.95-billion) plan to open 25 of its trademark blue-and-yellow stores in India as part of a wider push into emerging markets to increase sales.

“We will never compromise on a good location,” Juvencio Maeztu, Ikea’s India chief executive, told The Economic Times newspaper.

“So even if it takes five years to locate a place, it is no problem. The future is much more important for us than one to two years,” he said.

Ikea has already said it is taking a long-term approach in India by proposing to open 10 stores in the first decade phase of store launches followed by 15 outlets in the second phase.

There is a squeeze on urban space in India for retailers and Ikea, the world’s largest furniture and homeware retailer, plans to talk with different states to secure the best land for its stores, Maeztu said.

“An ideal location” would be 10 acres (four hectares), close to a highway with good visibility and with public transport infrastructure,” he said.

Ikea plans to hire up to 800 staff for each store including carpenters and other skilled people who can go to consumers’ homes to fit IKEA products.

“Big growth will be concentrated in the big cities” such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, Maeztu added.

Ikea’s stores span around 28,000 square metres which would make it the largest store by size in India. The company generally stocks 9,500 different home and office furnishing products in its stores.

“We are looking to cater to the real middle-class in India,” aiming to offer “good quality home furnishing products and solutions at affordable prices,” Maeztu said.

Ikea sees huge potential in India’s middle class which has burgeoned thanks to years of fast economic expansion. Industry estimates put the size of the nation’s retail market at around $500 billion annually in sales.

Maeztu, 45, said since his arrival a year ago he has been working to understand Indian culture to create a suitable Ikea model for the country of 1.2 billion people.

“Hopefully you will have same Ikea store but presented in a different way.”

AFP/The Local/og

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Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price

In the run-up to what would in normal times be the festive season sales rush, Ikea has vowed to buy back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price
Got any pieces of Ikea furniture at home? You may be able to get rid of it and get money back. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Ikea, the world's largest furniture chain, said Tuesday it would begin buying back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

The “Buy Back Friday” scheme, timed to coincide with the “Black Friday” pre-Christmas retail frenzy, will run from November 24th and until December 3rd in 27 countries.

“Rather than buy things you don't need this Black Friday, we want to help customers give their furniture a second life instead of making an impulse buy,” said Stefan Vanoverbeke, deputy retail operations manager at Ingka Group, Ikea's parent company.

To address concerns its affordable, flat-pack products encourage overconsumption and waste, the Swedish company had previously said it would start renting and recycling furniture as part of an eco-drive.

Under its buyback scheme, the group said that “anything that can't be resold will be recycled or donated to community projects to help those most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“Some countries like Australia and Canada for example are currently testing different buyback services, but BuyBack Friday will be the first time that 27 countries do this together,” the statement added.

The Swedish giant employs over 217,000 people and has more than 50 outlets. Its annual turnover is around 40 billion euros ($46 billion).

The group did not specify how it would determine the price paid for second-hand furniture and customers will receive a voucher, not cash, for their products.  

As part of efforts to reduce waste, Ikea has already begun repairing and re-packaging products in every store that have been damaged in transit, as well as allowing customers to return products – including furniture – for resale or donation to charities.