In an official launch of Ikea New Zealand today, hopeful consumers were taunted yet again as location, price points, and opening dates were kept under wraps.
Between two and five years for the grand opening was the waiting time hinted at to attendees at the Ikea New Zealand launch today. Transport infrastructure, land leasing, and shipping constraints have all contributed in dragging out the opening, as the Swedish furniture chain are adamant about doing things right the first time.
Will Edwards, Ikea’s New Zealand market leader, says that the new flagship was confirmed first for Auckland as a starting point, “and we do need to focus on that first.”
First looks into some classic Ikea designs that will be hitting our shores, eventually.
“There are many sites of interest in New Zealand, but we must conduct our due diligence first before moving onto the next stage. Ikea is really unique, so there are so many components going into it that we have to get right," said Edwards.
Ikea, who is owned by Ingka Group, is working closely with the New Zealand Government to determine the best possible location for its Auckland flagship store. It was confirmed by Edwards that as the flagship is established opportunities for more stores and an online presence will be introduced into Bew Zealand, yet franchisee rights will stay with Ingka Group.
“We are aiming to bring the experience of the Ikea stores to Auckland as quickly as we can… But we won’t stop there, sure there are many people living in Auckland but there are many people living throughout New Zealand. So, we will look to complement our Auckland establishment with other formats that we are exploring. We now live in a time where we can explore more options and grow our online platform. Without being specific as we are at the very start of the process, we will be bringing the entire thing as quickly as possible.”
Jesper Brodin, CEO of Ingka Group, said today that, "we’re really looking forward to bringing the full Ikea experience to New Zealand, working in partnership with the local community to make Ikea a part of Kiwis’ life at home, starting with Auckland. As a leader in home furnishings globally, we hope to be a partner in life for the many Ikea fans, providing inspiration and solutions to create a better everyday life at home. We look to bring the great work we achieve globally in our sustainability initiatives, the Ikea supply chain and, most importantly, our local team of co-workers to ensure a positive impact across every touch point of our business.”
Edwards said that Auckland having the biggest population had the best reach for the new flagship location. But notes that they will make moves towards the South Island after that before working their way back up.
“We’ve been working for some time with the New Zealand government to make sure we have the proper impact of where we chose to establish. We know that New Zealand has troubles with transport networks, so it is important that we get it right, and that does take a little bit of time. We’ve had a lot of research help from New Zealand Trade Enterprise which means we are far closer than we would usually be when establishing in a new country.”
Today Ikea reaches 1.2 billion customers in more than 50 markets through a combination of Ikea stores, ecommerce, and pick-up and order points. Ingka Group currently operates the Ikea business in 30 markets around the world. This includes ecommerce, 367 stores, and other sales channels.
The Ikea team mentioned new technologies that will be introduced into the stores, including click place flat packs making screws, glue, and Allen keys part of the past. Edwards said although no furniture items will be locally sourced, the iconic Ikea restaurant will be using local produce.
Over 200 jobs are thoughts to be brought in with the arrival of Ikea, making the question of economy benefits at the forefront of some minds. Edwards acknowledges that Ikea’s goal is to make a positive impact overall.
“Because of our scale, we have the chance to take a leadership position. It isn’t just bringing several hundred jobs directly, and much more indirectly, it really is about bringing a tangible positive difference to the overall community. Being a good neighbour and taking leadership on sustainability, these things sit in the essence of our values.”
When asked if New Zealand’s geographic location will result in high price points to Australian counterparts, Edwards was unable to confirm.
“We are very early in the process, so we haven’t established our overall price points. But what I can absolutely guarantee is we will bring the very best prices for home furnishings that Kiwi’s have ever seen.”
Consumers will soon have direct access to 7000 products from the global brand’s home furnishing solutions locally for the first time.
“You’ve waited 76 years already,” says Edwards. “You will have to wait just a little bit longer.”
Pictured left to right: Will Edwards with Jesper Brodin, CEO of Ingka Group.