Australian furniture and homewares retailer Coco Republic is set to launch its first international store at Westfield Newmarket this week. We got an advance preview from country manager Jordan Quill to find out what’s in store.
Coco Republic occupies a large site on the ground floor of Westfield Newmarket, with its street frontage spanning the corner of Clovernook Rd and Broadway. The premises’ high ceilings and large windows allow its “dark and moody” design identity to flourish without being overwhelming, and there’s plenty of space between display settings.
Like Coco Republic’s cafes in Australia, its L’Americano espresso bar is inspired by the 1999 film The Talented Mr Ripley. Each café is based on a different character and styled accordingly – the Westfield Newmarket café is inspired by Matt Damon’s character, Tom Ripley.
Quill says Coco Republic occupies a mid-market niche, with price points on par with Dawson’s. Her market research indicates that “we’re cost-effective for what we’re presenting”.
“I would say we’re mid-market, which, in this market, I’m finding it’s either low-end or very high-end.”
Coco Republic’s main point of difference against existing furniture and homewares retailers in New Zealand is its emphasis on service. All its floor staff are salespeople and also qualified designers, giving them the ability to make recommendations with authority.
Six local staff have been hired, and an interior designer has been flown out from Sydney to train them for three months. Coco Republic is still hunting for more staff, Quill says.
“It’s really important to us to have a local team who understand the clients and the customers.”
Quill predicts the outdoor range and products based on natural timbers will sell well, but is comfortable with a level of uncertainty in this new market for the brand.
“Everyone thinks New Zealand and Australia are the same, but they’re really not,” she says. “I still need to get to know New Zealand.”