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NEW DELHI : Ingka Centres, part of Sweden’s Ingka Group which also runs Ikea retail stores, said on Tuesday that it will invest €900 million (about 7,266 crore) to build two mega shopping centres in the Delhi-NCR.

Earlier in the day, the company broke ground for a €400 million ( 3,500-crore) Ingka Centre in Gurugram, which will be built by the second half of 2025. This will be followed by a similar centre in Noida.

The 1.7 million sq. ft Gurugram centre will house an Ikea store, other retail outlets for global and local brands, edutainment activities, a food park, and 320,000-sq ft commercial office space, spread over nine floors, the company said. The Ikea store will be spread across 250,000 sq ft and offer more than 9,000 home furnishing products. The company is targeting an annual footfall of 20 million at the Gurugram store.

The Noida centre, however, will take some time to develop, the company said, without giving a timeframe.

Ingka Centres operates 45 shopping centres in 15 countries to cater to the needs of 370 million visitors every year with products from more than 3,000 brands.

Despite India having seen large-scale adoption of online shopping during the pandemic, Ingka executives are confident that consumers will return to stores and spend longer hours in physical spaces. “We believe in the meeting of people and we focus on physical meeting (spaces). That doesn’t mean we are not using technology. We will be online as well," said Jan Kristensson, director, global expansion and development, Ingka Centres, in an interview.

Kristensson declined to elaborate on the expansion plans for India but said that the company is very positive about the market.

However, Susanne Pulverer, chief executive and chief sustainability officer of Ikea India, said Delhi is a “huge" market, and “with a lot of people two centres will not be enough", hinting at the possibility of setting up smaller city centre stores in NCR in the near future. In February 2021, Ingka said it had acquired land in Noida for an “Ikea-anchored retail destination".

Last month, Ikea opened a small format city centre store in Mumbai. It also has three big-format furniture and home stores in Hyderabad, Navi Mumbai and Bengaluru, and online services in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Bengaluru and Surat. The two city centres in Mumbai opened in December 2021 and July 2022.

On plans to open more Ikea stores and shopping centres in India, Pulverer said the company is constantly exploring a mix of formats. “We are constantly on the lookout, be it centres, standalone (store) in malls or separate small stores. Our expansion plans are focused on the three markets we are operating in, and Delhi. Of course, India is much larger than that. It’s big work to expand and cover all the people in India."

“It is not possible to open large-format stores everywhere. We will have them and especially for big cities like Delhi we need at least two. Then we want to complement that with a city store. Maybe we will have order points where you cannot buy but can plan your house, room or kitchen and then order online," she said.

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