The first store was opened in Hyderabad in 2018 after which the company opted to take the online route, setting up e-stores in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Pune. The launch of the Navi Mumbai store, though delayed, said experts, indicates that the company has not abandoned its big-box retail plans in India. Next in line will be mega stores in cities such as Gurgaon and Bengaluru, though timelines for launch have not been specified yet.
The company will also launch two more city-centre or smaller stores in 2021 in Mumbai to reach a wider audience.
Peter Betzel, CEO & Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA India, said that Mumbai was one of the firm’s top priority markets in India, where it was experimenting with a hybrid model.
This included small, large and e-stores to ensure the brand could reach consumers easily. Learnings from here are expected to be put to use in other mega cities in the country.
“Ikea will bring alive its home furnishing solutions with its large, unique range, showcasing many room-sets, all this reflecting how people live in Mumbai,” Betzel said.
Ikea is expected to keep prices competitive to keep sales going, at a time when rivals such as Reliance Retail have padded up for entry by acquiring online furniture player Urban Ladder.
The over 5 lakh square sq. ft. Ikea store, located on the Thane-Belapur road, will offer a range of 7,000 products. Crowd management is also expected to be key for Ikea, given the Covid-19 pandemic and its experience in the past in India.
When IKEA had launched in Hyderabad in August 2018, around 40,000 people had visited the store on its first day, making it a high-profile launch. For the Navi Mumbai launch, it will allow visitors with prior registration only.
IKEA stated that the safety of its customers and co-workers was its first priority. “To provide a safe shopping experience during Covid times, we are taking a number of extra precautions from our global best practices and relevant learnings from our Hyderabad operations,” the firm said.
Registration will be online, by which customers will be allotted a day and time slot to visit the store, it said. The company is also putting together a whole process that will be released soon to the public.