India’s first-ever IKEA store opened its doors this week, an event that has garnered widespread media attention and attracted crowds so large that traffic was at a standstill around the new Hyderabad location.
Hyderabad’s new IKEA promises shoppers a range of amenities that American fans of the Swedish furniture retailer have never experienced. Solar powered electric rickshaws painted in Ikea’s classic blue and yellow were commissioned to deliver furniture to customers. And those of us who have struggled to put together Ikea’s desks and couches on our own will probably be envious of the fact that Indian customers can book a team from an assembly service to put together their furniture for them.
At the store’s official opening on August 9, Swedish ambassador to India Klas Molin declared the new location would “symbolizes Swedish values and the things [Sweden] wants to offer India.”
#IKEA‘s first store in India symbolizes Swedish values and the things #Sweden wants to offer India, said Klas Molin @SwedensAmbIndia while addressing 1000 IKEA co-workers in Hyderabad #IKEAIndia #IKEAHyderabad pic.twitter.com/YCIOzadLvx
— Sweden in India (@SwedeninIndia) August 9, 2018
One of those Swedish values is a commitment to gender equality, especially when it comes to the staff of Ikea’s India locations. “We are committed to have 50% women managers and co-workers in our organization at all levels,” the company announced. The News Minute noted that the new Hyderabad store currently has 8 female forklift drivers, which is notable as forklifting driving is a predominantly male profession. Ikea is also working with the DISHA project — which is a collaboration between Ikea, the United Nations Development Program and the India Development Foundation — to train young women to prepare them for a career in retail.
Ikea’s Indian stores (the company is also planning locations in Bangalore, Chennai, and Surat) will also feature the chain’s famous cafes. While Ikea’s beloved pork meatballs won’t be on the menu for obvious reasons, the company has created both vegetarian and chicken versions of its beloved dish.