Swedish furniture giant eyes Noida for expansion

Lucknow, Oct 24 (IANS) Swedish furniture major IKEA has expressed its willingness to set up its first integrated unit for manufacturing and selling its products in Uttar Pradesh, an official said Thursday.

Representatives of the company met senior officials of the Infrastructure and Industrial Development Department (IIDD) of Uttar Pradesh government Wednesday.

Principal secretary of IIDD Surya Pratap Singh told IANS that IKEA has plans to establish stores in four states and Uttar Pradesh was high on the firm's priority.

"It was agreed that the IKEA officials would visit Noida and Greater Noida early next month to see the infrastructure and identify appropriate site," Singh said.

A model IKEA store comprises showroom, market hall and self-service warehouse along with a restaurant, its representatives informed government officials and sought around 12-17 acres of land.

The company has 342 stores across the globe with 154,000 co-workers and a turnover of around Euros 27.5 billion.

Appreciating the interest shown in Uttar Pradesh, Surya Pratap Singh said, "Investment in industries is welcome but it must not affect local businesses negatively."

"Along with a large consumer base and growing middle class, UP has around 40,000 hectares of land available for industries. Hence it cannot be ignored any more by entrepreneurs, Indian or foreign," he added.

Expressing interest for land in Noida or Greater Noida, Jeff Dolin, property manager, IKEA India, said: "By 2020, we plan to double our turnover and that is possible only by tapping into the vast consumer base in India."

Allaying concerns about adverse impact on local furniture business, Jeff Dolin said that in addition to need for local suppliers, "we create a lot of work opportunities for local manufacturers for achieving viability".