Ruby opened the doors of the New Zealand label’s 10th store on July 15, in Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna. The homegrown label is on the rise – we asked how it balances rapid growth with competition against international player.
While the new store is officially number 10, there are currently only nine stores operating after the lease ended at the Auckland Airport store earlier this month.
Managing director Christine Sharma says the new store’s location is a good move for business.
“It’s really good to have a full presence on the North Shore and to get Takapuna back to the level of shopping environment it should be.”
The new store is in-keeping with the elegant Ruby style, but with a few changes to keep up with the evolving trends.
Pink velvet furnishings are a nod to the first Ruby store, which opened in Auckland’s High St in 2002. Its centrepiece was a pink velvet loveseat.
Auckland’s high street retail scene is changing rapidly with the influx of international retailers being introduced to the market. Sharma says while the arrivals of Top Shop, Zara and H&M rock the boat at first, things do settle back to normal.
“The cake is only so big and the pieces are getting divided into more and more companies.
“It will return to a normal trading pattern once everyone’s gone to the new stores and the initial excitement wears off.”
As international retailers increasingly dominate the market, Ruby has a focus on refining and perfecting what the stores offer, whether that is the shopping experience, items for sale or how a store looks, she says.
“We have to keep evolving Ruby and trying to deliver a better product as the market shifts.”
With larger chain stores having much quicker stock cycles, customers have come to expect sale products more often. For now, Ruby is sticking to its guns with its traditional model of only hosting a sale twice a year.
“We’ve stuck with that and it works because our customers can trust that when they buy something from us it won’t be on the sale rack next week.
“We’re happy with it at this point, you just have to keep reassessing.”
Ruby’s parent company, De Vere Investments, added New Zealand menswear company Meccano to its books in March this year.
Being able to share head office structure, retail teams and information has been a positive experience for both companies, Sharma says.
“At the moment we’re just focused on having everything running well, opening a new Ruby store and adding 15 new stores to the family is enough for one year.”