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IKEA India’s plans to enter in the wood market have been delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Peter Betzel, MD, IKEA India, had earlier said that IKEA’s parent company, Ingka, was looking at a few investments in manufacturing or raw materials in India. Earlier this year, on the sidelines of a retail event in Mumbai, Betzel had told BusinessLine that it had plans to invest in the wood market in India.

During a recent infraction Per Hornell, Market and Expansion Manager, IKEA India, said that as sustainability remains its top priority for the Indian market, entering the wood market is definitely something IKEA is looking at. “These plans continue to develop and now we are progressing with them,” he said.

To promote Make in India, customs duties on over 50 products in each consignment of wooden furniture, tableware, kitchenware, and toys, among other products were increased by Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Currently, the Swedish retailer currently imports about 75 per cent of its products.

Peter had said that it was “disappointing” that the customs duty had been hiked.

Hornell said that there are multiple initiatives on local sourcing being introduced by the Indian government, “currently, we are relying on Indian suppliers to buy textiles and wooden products.”

IKEA has 50+ suppliers in India, engaging 45,000+ direct co-workers and approximately 400,000 co-workers in its extended supply chain.

However, investment in the wood market seems to have taken a backseat as other projects become the central priority for the furniture brand. “In the context of Covid, physical meetings have become next to nil, which delays our plans as these projects aren’t the top of our priority compared to others,” he said. “IKEA Hyderabad store completed more than two years in India. We are today online in Mumbai, Pune, and Hyderabad.”

Its Navi Mumbai store is planned to open on December 18 to the public. Two smaller stores will also open in Mumbai during 2021.

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