Swedish retailer IKEA on Thursday said it will shut down its first and only store in the country, in the city of Hyderabad, starting March 20 amid the Covid-19 outbreak in the country as it takes precautionary measures to safeguard employees and customers.
Customers in the city will however be able to shop online.
The retailer that opened its store in the city of Hyderabad in 2018, said the store will remain shut until further notice. With this, India becomes the latest country where the Swedish furniture retailer has shut its large-format stores that draw huge crowds of shoppers.
“We have been listening to the advice of the Indian government, guidance from our global group and customer and co-worker feedback. We have taken a day-by-day and hour-by-hour approach, evolving our assessments and decisions as new information becomes available. We are evaluating and making decisions based on the local situation. In light of this, the IKEA Hyderabad store will be closed from 3:00 PM Friday 20th March to the public for shopping,” Peter Betzel, CEO & CSO, IKEA India said in a statement.
Customers will still be able to buy online, he said.
Ikea said its co-workers in India who will continue to support online fulfillment will have strong measures and hygiene practices to ensure the work environment is clean and sanitized, and working at a safe social distance.
Moreover, its co-workers in its offices are currently working from home “to secure our IKEA country operations and critical capabilities.”
It has also directed all its workers (who are dependent on public transport) in Navi Mumbai IKEA where a new IKEA store is upcoming, to work from home. “We will continue the dialogue about how best to protect co-worker’s wellbeing whilst enabling our work and ambitions to continue.”
Globally,the Covid-19 outbreak has forced the company to temporarily shut its large format stores in heavily impacted countries including Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland, and the United States.
In China, where the situation is gradually improving, IKEA stores in the region are being gradually reopened.