The finance ministry on Saturday said there was no dilution of the permission granted to Swedish furniture major IKEA to set up its business here, as the Rs 10,500-crore investment proposal was limited to only single brand retailing.
"It is an incorrect understanding of the approval which has been given to IKEA. It's a single-brand approval. So they can sell those items which they can brand," Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram told reporters here on the sidelines of the Asia Securities Forum meet.
Earlier this week, the Foreign Investment Promotion Board had reportedly halved the product range that Ikea listed out at 30 items. This reportedly excluded items including textiles, office supplies and food, among others. Swedish furniture major Ikea, which plans to invest Rs 10,500 crore to set up stores in the country, has already received the approval from the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.
"Whatever they can brand, they have been permitted to," Mayaram said, adding "I think, their core activities have all been permitted."
Get this: the Ikea experience as you know it outside, is about to change fundamentally in India. While many may write this off as the pains of doing business in India, this to us just seems like plain bureaucracy and killing something that is actually world class. We'll tell you how.
If you've been to an Ikea store, the first thing that would have hit you is the size. There are definite rules/directions to walk around stores and look at furniture. And while the Indian store will have the furniture, it will not have what makes this walk quite spectacular. All this furniture is arranged in 'rooms', ie living room furniture in a living room - which means, a woolly throw to add colour, a funky table lamp to add cool. A kitchen will have dishes and a study will have stationary. All of which is FOR SALE. And for very reasonable prices.
But not in India, though. And when you walk around that colossal space you get hungry, and therefore the food, but not in India.
So, folks, get ready for a stripped down version and eat before you go furniture shopping.