Swedish home products retailer keen to enter India

February 20th, 2008 - 4:05 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Feb 20 (IANS) Swedish home products retailer Ikea is ready to enter the Indian market only if the government allows 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retailing, said a top company official. “We are ready to enter India and we are very firm on that but then the government has to change its FDI rules to 100 percent, whenever that happens. We are ready to wait,” Staf Lenders, property and establishment manager, Ikea India, said Wednesday here at a retail conclave.

The retail meet was organised by KAS Technopak India Pvt Ltd, a service provider to retailers and suppliers.

“We will bring low price but high quality products into India. But you need to understand that we are not a threat to the mom and pop shops as they are not in any way in competition with us,” Lenders said, adding that the company opens one store every Wednesday at 10 a.m. somewhere in the world.

Ikea is a privately run firm that sells furniture, home furnishing, bathroom fittings and kitchen accessories. It has about 260 stores across Europe, North America, Middle East and Asia Pacific.

“India is not an emerging market and it is certainly not ready for big retail. It is far behind China and Russia, which are truly developing markets. India is just an investment market.

“In India the import duties are high, rent is high and there’s absolutely no mentality for sales, no customer service at all.”

The company has plans to open 20 stores in a phased manner after it enters the country.

“Once we enter India, it will take us another 3-4 years to get the manpower and train them according to our needs.”

Lenders also said he was not negotiating with any property developer for acquiring land.

The company currently employs more than 200 people in its offices and over 100,000 in its factories.

Retail juggernauts like US’ Wal-Mart and French Carrefour have already announced their plans to enter the Indian retail market through the wholesale cash-and-carry format, where the Indian government has allowed 100 percent FDI.

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