IKEA is a household name for regular international travellers, particularly in Europe. Swedish home furnishings giant, known for its huge stores and trademark furniture style, has been known as the $42 billion Swedish home furnishings giant. The opening of its first store in Hyderabad in 2018 saw huge crowds eager to see what was on offer, given India's booming aspirational economy. Four years and five stores later, IKEA, which was testing the Indian waters so far, has decided to amp up its India play. The reasons are not far from being sought. India is a lucrative market for IKEA with a huge millennial population that is keen to live well. Despite its global presence, the company is heavily dependent on Western Europe and North America, economies that are stagnating and facing their own set of challenges. India is in the IKEA's list of growth options. Susanne Pulverer, IKEA India's CEO tells Arnab Dutta in our cover story, It is a big country and we have just started to enter. Pulverer and her company now have their aggressive strategy chalked out. IKEA is upping the ante on expansions after having pumped in close to 10,000 crore in India. It has also tweaked its strategy of setting up massive stores outside city confines and is now putting up smaller size stores closer to the customer to ensure footfalls. India is not an easy market to crack, as many multinationals have realized that it is not an easy market to crack. There are several home-grown players - Godrej Interio and start-up Pepperfry - just two of them - which will give the Swedish giant tough competition, not to forget the countless mom and pop furniture shops dotting Indian cities with their loyal base of customers. IKEA will have to fight for leadership in the Indian market because it will have to contend with all of this.
In this issue, Ashish Rukhaiyar talks to several leading stock market experts and players to tell how they see the markets play out over the rest of the year. The broad consensus seems to be that while the worst may be behind us, it is not a rosy picture for the near term. The reasons are inflation, monetary tightening, recession trends in the US and Europe, supply chain disruptions, and the list is long. The findings of the Business Today Business Confidence Index mirror most of these concerns. The BCI fell to 51.2 for the April-June quarter of 2022 after hitting a seven-year high at 55.2 last quarter on a scale of 100 after hitting a seven-year high at 55.2 last quarter on a scale of 100. There is a lot of hope despite the concerns. As India turns 75, we also bring you a stellar line-up of the country's top business leaders who tell us their vision for India for the next 25 years. As their views show, there is much to aim for and celebrate.