Hyderabad witnessed a stampede-like situation on Thursday when thousands of customers thronged Swedish home furnishings major IKEA's first store in India on its opening day.
According to news agency IANS, around 10,000 customers had visited the store by 4 pm but the crowd increased in the evening as thousands of techies headed to the store after over their office work. Overall, more than 40,000 customers visited the store on its first day.
“With a huge crowd from across the city thronging the store in the evening, the IKEA staff found it a bit challenging to regulate the entry. There were also a few tense moments when some people tried breaking queues,” John Achillea, IKEA's managing director for Telangana, told IANS.
The report added that there was traffic jam in front of the store located in the heart of HITEC City, the hub of information technology.
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.
IKEA Group CEO Jesper Brodin said the opening of the first store in India marks a milestone in the company's journey here which began over three decades ago through sourcing of products.
The store in Hyderabad is the first of 25 such outlets planned to be set up in India by 2025. In 2013, IKEA received nod from the government to invest Rs 10,500 crore in single-brand retail.
IKEA had originally planned to open its first store in India by 2017, but it was delayed. The opening of its first store here was scheduled for July 19 this year but the company again pushed it back by almost 20 days to August 9, citing quality commitments.
Out of the total outlay of Rs 10,500 crore, the company has so far invested Rs 4,500 crore in its different projects in India.
It has invested Rs 1,000 crore on the Hyderabad store alone, which would have a range of around 7,500 products. The store is spread over 13 acres of land and has a built up area of 4 lakh sq ft.
The company said it would increase its investments in India as it looks to accelerate expansion in the country faster than it would usually do elsewhere.
Besides retail, IKEA said it will also enter e-commerce segment in India by next year, besides exploring small format stores as part of its India expansion plans.
After Hyderabad, Ikea's second store would be in Mumbai next year, followed by Bengaluru and Delhi-NCR.
On the company's recruitment plans, IKEA India HR manager Anna-Carin Mansson said the company's aim is to make retail an attractive career choice for young people in the country.
"Our aim is to recruit 15,000 people... in the coming years," she added.
(With PTI inputs)