Chris Beasleigh, JLL New Zealand’s head of retail, says lots of international retailers are signing up to come here and lots are silently looking, which is great for New Zealand.
“H&M is coming, Topshop is open, and now the foodies coming in as well. It’s a good time and we’re just going to see more and more,” Beasleigh says.
He says fast fashion brands Forever 21, Uniqlo and Mango are probably going to be the next to come, as well as luxury brands like Italian-created Canali, which makes men’s suits and custom tuxedos.
Consumers probably most want to see Scandinavian furniture company Ikea come here next, he says, as well as German supermarket company Aldi.
“Aldi is doing really well over in Australia, so maybe it will come down to New Zealand. I think we need some competition in the supermarket area and fast fashion area. Ikea would be great because everyone likes an Ikea,” he says.
As for the increasing pressure being put on shopping centres, he says both international brands and New Zealand shopping centres need each other right now.
“Consumers need new reasons to go there - new fashion, new leisure – so centres need to constantly evolve. The international retailers need footprints and global expansions and when places like St Lukes and Albany expand they’ll get these new guys in. They both need each other: shopping centres need the new brands and the global brands need to expand.”
Ever since Topshop opened on Auckland’s Queen St in March, international fast fashion retailers have been coming thick and fast.
He says one of the challenges fashion retailers face in New Zealand is the southern hemisphere’s climate.
“If you’re in the northern hemisphere, you’re doing a summer sale when we’re winter. We’re always six months out. The fashion guys have struggled a bit on getting seasonality,” he says.
An appetite for food retailing
But fast fashion isn’t the be all and end all to international arrivals – it’s just the beginning.
JLL’s retail team is seeing a boost in interest from international food operators that want to expand into the New Zealand market.
“There has been a surge of new international brands and chains that our retail team has helped bring to market, such as PappaRich, Gong Cha and Texas Chicken for example,” Beasleigh says.
Malaysian restaurant PappaRich moved into Sky City Metro in Auckland’s CBD around a month ago.
PappaRich Auckland. Photo / PappaRich NZ Facebook page
Retailers entering the market across the ditch and then heading to New Zealand afterwards seems to be a common theme.
JLL retail team associate director Ranesh Parmar says after PappaRich had success with its Australian launch, it began to look at the New Zealand market.
“PappaRich chose Auckland as their next growth platform because of its strong overall progression of the food and beverage sector, as a result of its improving economy; increased business confidence and consumer spend,” Parmar says.
Like fashion retail, food retail isn’t limited to one end of the spectrum.
Beasleigh says both international chain restaurants and luxury dining restaurants are keen to get a stake in the market here.
Auckland is now home to a number of restaurants that would not look out of place in Sydney, he says, such as Ostro, Soul Bar or Depot.
He says previously there were very few restaurants of that calibre.
Jamie Oliver is also opening a restaurant in Wellington and scouting for a space in Auckland.
International fast food chains like Carl’s Jr. have also recently entered the New Zealand market, which may have prompted others to follow.
Auckland an international hotbed for retail
Food retailers like PappaRich and fashion retailers like Topshop taking up shop in Auckland’s CBD may have something to do with its booming population.
According to JLL research, Auckland’s CBD is 4 square kilometres in size with a population of 24,400 living within the CBD area.
In 2025, the population is forecast to hit 34,605 people. Population density within the CBD is expected to reach 8,650 people per square kilometre, up from 6,100.
With people in the CBD tending to eat out more than cooking at home, JLL expects the demand for international food and beverage outlets to increase.
Beasleigh says with all this international activity in New Zealand, the Kiwi retail industry is now on the radar of many global brands.
“Once they come here, the rest will follow. When H&M opens and does really well, Uniqlo will come,” he says.