Swedish home furnishing giant IKEA on Thursday opened its first store in India with a 4 lakh sq ft showroom spread across 13 acres on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

“We have a long-term commitment to India, which is an important market for us,” said IKEA Group Chief Executive Officer Jesper Brodin. He said the opening of the first store in India marks a milestone in the company’s journey that began over three decades ago through sourcing of products, PTI reported.

“Our main priority is to create an inspiring and safe experience for both customers and co-workers,” said Peter Betzel, CEO of IKEA Retail India, in a statement.

In 2013, IKEA received government approval to invest Rs 10,500 crore in single-brand retail sector. IKEA had originally planned to open its first store in India by 2017, but it was delayed. The opening of its first store here was scheduled for July 19 but the company pushed it to August 9, citing quality commitments.

Of the total outlay of Rs 10,500 crore, the company has invested Rs 4,500 crore in its different projects in India. It has invested Rs 1,000 crore in the Hyderabad store alone. “As we see big opportunities in India, we believe that we will increase this investment as we continue expansion in India in future,” Brodin said.

IKEA said it will also enter the e-commerce segment in India by next year and explore small-format stores. “We want to be accessible... we will try our best to speed up our expansion to move quicker than normally we do in IKEA,” he said.

IKEA plans to set up 25 stores across India by 2025. The second store is slated to open in Mumbai next year, followed by Bengaluru and Delhi-NCR. Brodin said the company has also identified four more cities in India where it plans to set up its stores.

The company has employed 950 people directly and another 1,500 indirectly at its store in Hyderabad, and plans to hire 15,000 in the coming years as part of its expansion plans. IKEA said is has adopted a “non-negotiable” approach to hire 50% women at all levels in India, even “including forklift drivers and assembling co-workers”.