Ikea promises ‘dreams’ with first Indian store

Ikea promises ‘dreams’ with first Indian store
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Indian workers give final touches at the warehouse area of the new IKEA store in Hyderabad on August 8, 2018.(AFP)
Ikea promises ‘dreams’ with first Indian store
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Staff arrange furniture inside India's first IKEA store ahead of its opening in Hyderabad, India, Wednesday, Aug.8, 2018. (AP)
Ikea promises ‘dreams’ with first Indian store
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Store Manager John Achillea looks on at the new IKEA store in Hyderabad on August 8, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 08 August 2018

Ikea promises ‘dreams’ with first Indian store

Ikea promises ‘dreams’ with first Indian store
  • “We bring an inspiring, affordable and convenient home furnishing offer,” said Ikea's boss
  • Ikea expects to attract seven million visitors per year to its Hyderabad store

HYDERABAD: Ikea’s boss promised Wednesday to meet “needs, frustrations and dreams” of local consumers with the Swedish firm’s first Indian store, its second attempt to break into a vast but difficult market.
“We bring an inspiring, affordable and convenient home furnishing offer,” Jesper Brodin said a day before the grand opening of the furniture giant’s vast store on the outskirts of the southern city of Hyderabad.
“We promise to give great quality at affordable prices and try to expand quickly and reach other parts of the country with multiple stores,” Brodin told a news conference.
Ikea, whose founder Ingvar Kamprad died in January, is present in 49 countries but its previous shot at getting a piece of India’s burgeoning middle class in 2006 fell foul of local regulations.
This time around, Ikea expects to attract seven million visitors per year to its Hyderabad store, the first of 25 outlets it hopes to open across the country of 1.25 billion people by 2025.
But Brodin admitted having to give Ikea’s business model a local twist of Indian spice to try to attract a vast middle class not used to a company expecting them to assemble their products themselves.
The differences between the furniture giant’s 400-odd outlets elsewhere and Hyderabad start in the 1,000-seater restaurant, its biggest worldwide and according to Ikea “possibly India’s largest.”
Instead of beef or pork, the company’s signature meatballs — almost as famous as its “Billy” bookshelves — will be either chicken or vegetarian. Local favorite biryani is also on the menu for 99 rupees ($1.44).
“We have changed quite a lot for India. We have two ranges. One is the Swedish unique range and one is the local range,” IKEA food manager Henrik Osterstrom told AFP.
“Food is part of the total experience. It’s a big store and you need to have some energy boost halfway through. So we have sold everything here at different parts of the day,” Osterstrom said.
Alongside standard Ikea furniture, on offer are “locally relevant products” such as masala boxes, Indian frying pans called tawas, rice cake makers and mattresses with a coconut-fiber center.
There are also more than 1,000 products under 200 rupees to satisfy consumers that John Achillea, Ikea Hyderabad store manager, says have “big aspirations for their homes and small wallets.”
A major hurdle for Ikea’s DIY model successful elsewhere is abundant cheap labor and ubiquitous family-run shops whose staff visit customers’ homes and assemble furniture.
Ikea has therefore teamed up with UrbanClap, an online platform that helps connect handymen with consumers, and the firm also met 1,000 families to try to understand their needs.


Saudi-Yemeni collaboration aims to support housing, education and employment sectors

Princess Lamia bint Majed and ambassador Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber. (Supplied)
Princess Lamia bint Majed and ambassador Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber. (Supplied)
Updated 43 min 58 sec ago

Saudi-Yemeni collaboration aims to support housing, education and employment sectors

Princess Lamia bint Majed and ambassador Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber. (Supplied)
  • Initiative will offer more than 200 unemployed youth vocational training opportunities, while 1,600 new job opportunities will be created

RIYADH: The Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY) has signed a number of agreements with Alwaleed Philanthropies, the charitable organization set up by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al-Saud, to address the housing and education needs of 4,860 Yemeni people.

The first memorandum of cooperation (MoC) is with UN-Habitat, represented by the program’s executive director Maimunah M. Sharif, to launch the Adequate Housing Project.

Coordinated with the Yemeni government, the housing project is restoring 600 housing units for low-income households in Aden and surrounding areas. The project is expected to directly benefit up to 4,200 people, as well as improving the general social and economic conditions of the surrounding neighbourhoods.

Moreover, the initiative will offer more than 200 unemployed youth vocational training opportunities, while 1,600 new job opportunities will be created during the project.

The second MoC is with Education for Employment (EFE) and will focus on a project entitled Building the Future for Yemeni Youth.

SDRPY’s Supervisor, Ambassador Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber, said: “The initiatives are part of our efforts to assist the government in Yemen by restoring housing, offering placement programs, job training, and self-employment opportunities to youth, under the directives of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

Secretary General of Alwaleed Philanthropies Princess Lamia bint Majed Al Saud, said: “Adequate housing and proper job placements are vital in economic, social, and civic development. If addressed properly, a myriad of socio-economic benefits can be reaped and business opportunities will grow.”

She added: “Today’s agreements with the SDRPY, UN-Habitat and Education for Employment demonstrate our continuous efforts towards providing long-term solutions and achieving sustainable impact in a way that supports the most vulnerable segments of society. We are delighted to have partnered with institutions that share both our core values and ethos for creating real change within societies.”

Founded in 1980, Alwaleed Philanthropies has spent more than $4 billion in support of more than 1000 social initiatives in nearly 190 countries.