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Jun 02, 2013, 09.07 PM IST | Source: CNBC-TV18

After long wait, IKEA in no rush for quick launch of stores

Juvencio Maeztu, head of IKEA's operations in India, says that no shortcuts will be taken in the process of launching its stores in India. With access to the largest number of people being the retail giant's credo, Maeztu adds that the company’s focus is on the cities with the largest populations.

We don't sell products, we sell inspiration

Juvencio Maeztu

CEO

IKEA India

It has been a long wait for IKEA to actually be able to get started in India . Though from a sourcing point of view, IKEA has been operating in India for 25 years, it has recently (May 2, 2013) got the official nod from the government of India to set up single brand retail operations in the country.

In an interview to The Forbes Show on CNBC-TV18, Juvencio Maeztu, head of IKEA's operations in India, says that no shortcuts will be taken in the process of launching its stores in India.

With access to the largest number of people being the retail giant's credo, Maeztu adds that the company’s focus is on the cities with the largest populations. Offering over 9,000 products for the entire family, Maeztu adds that at IKEA, "We don't sell products, we sell inspiration."

Below is the edited transcript of the interview on CNBC-TV18.

Q: Has trying to get a retail licence in India it tested your patience?

A: We are very determined but very patient at the same time. We started this journey six years ago. Things are finally moving and we are satisfied with the progress so far.

Q: Was there a point when you thought it was not worth the effort?

A: Generally, you want things to move quickly as possible. But at IKEA, we are not led by the calendar. We are led by the long-term decisions and taking the right decision and adopting the right approach that will further the implementation of those decisions.

Q: When will you open your first retail store in India?

A: Now that we have the approval, we will kickstart two parallel processes — finding the right locations and developing the capacity of our suppliers. In terms of locations, our focus is on the big cities with high population as that will aid us in our objective of reaching out as many people as possible because at IKEA, people come first.

When deciding on the location in the cities, factors such as access to roads and public transport are important. Usually such locations do not come cheap. To help us with this challenging task, we will initiate talks with the local authorities and regional governments. We will also make estimates of how the city will look like in 10 or 20 years’ time. The whole process requires time and we will not take any shortcuts for the sake of a quick launch of an IKEA store.

Q: Have you identified or is there a preferred city where you would like to launch your operations from? Have you hired consultants in India to help you get started? In what format will you launch your stores?

A: We are now exploring the market. The first level of priorities are the big cities with the largest populations..

I truly believe that the IKEA format is going to work. What is an IKEA store? An IKEA store has more than 9000 different articles for the entire family. We offer an experience for the whole family. Al so remember, at IKEA we don't sell products, we sell inspiration.

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