Kiwi Property is the owner of Sylvia Park. It will invest $11.5 million to accommodate Zara in a new ground-level store located in the mid-mall area of the shopping centre.
Its chief executive Chris Gudgeon says the proposition is very exciting.
“The excitement is building for our Sylvia Park shoppers. Zara is known the world over as a leading fashion giant, with more than 2,000 stores in 88 countries. To have secured their first New Zealand store at Sylvia Park is great news for our customers.
“We are firm believers in investing in Auckland’s growth, and bringing Zara to Sylvia Park is part of our plan to create a truly world-class retail offer in an increasingly world-class city.
“Almost a decade ago when Sylvia Park opened, few could imagine that Kiwi Property would turn a brown-field site next to a motorway into New Zealand’s best shopping centre. Sylvia Park is today Auckland’s premier retail destination, with more than 12 million shoppers coming through our flagship shopping centre every year,”
The announcement comes barely two months after Kiwi Property confirmed Sylvia Park will host the first Kiwi store for a primary international competitor of Zara’s, Swedish fast fashion label H&M. The centre will invest $7.7 million into accommodating H&M and upgrading adjacent mall areas. Like Zara, H&M’s Sylvia Park outlet will open in late 2016.
In the release announcing Zara’s arrival, Kiwi Property hinted at the possibility of more international retailers opening there. It is planning a $150 million, 20,000 square metre expansion of Sylvia Park, which is currently 80,000 square metres.
Gudgeon says a range of options for Sylvia Park’s expansion are currently under consideration, including the addition of further international retailers, more specialty retail stores, department stores and additional customer parking.
Chris Wilkinson, managing director of First Retail Group Ltd, tipped Sylvia Park as a likely location for Zara back in November. Today, he described the centre as having hit “absolute critical mass” – with Zara in the mix, Wilkinson says, Sylvia Park’s offering will be very attractive to shoppers from around New Zealand.
“It will be such a compelling proposition.”
With Sylvia Park able to offer two significant international brands available nowhere else in New Zealand, Wilkinson believes the centre will be able to draw consumers from outside the wider Auckland area. Shoppers will travel from areas such as the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Northland to spend greatly-increased time there.
“We’ll start to see people hitting these places and making an absolute day of it.”
Wilkinson says this reflects international trends, especially from the UK.
He says the decision to locate Zara at Sylvia Park may have been made by executives operating at a significant remove from New Zealand. Because of this separation, technical details such as motorway connections and Sylvia Park’s rail links become more significant.
The next international store to open in New Zealand is likely to be Uniqlo, says Wilkinson. The brand is one of a group of international competitors including Zara, Topshop, H&M and Forever 21 which often set up shop close to one another. Uniqlo expanded into Australia less than two years ago and its stores seem to be performing well.
Read more about the arrival of international retailers in New Zealand in The Register’s series ‘Here come the giants’.