Smiths City looks to Auckland’s ‘strong growth prospects’

SmithCity026Furniture and home goods retailer Smiths City is opening two new stores on the North Shore and in Mount Wellington in Auckland.

The Auckland stores, and another recently opened in Whangarei, were part of the Furniture City chain, which Smiths City acquired last year.

Smiths has refurbished and rebranded the locations under its new ‘live better’ format, following on from the opening of new stores in Taupo and Hastings.

“The upper North Island, and the Auckland market in particular, offer strong long-term growth prospects,” said Smith City Chief Executive Roy Campbell.

“Demand for housing, a key driver of Smiths City’s sales, continues to outstrip supply, while the region’s longterm economic prospects look good,” he said.

Campbell said the ‘live better’ livery, which is being rolled out across the retailer’s 33 Smiths-City branded stores, had been developed in response to changes in the retail market including the rise of the online channel.

The furniture chain – which next year celebrates its centenary – said its Whangarei store, which opened under the Smiths City brand in early September, is generating sales 17 per cent ahead of the same period a year ago, when it traded under the Furniture City brand.

According to the retailer, its Hastings store, which is the first Smiths City store to open in the city, has carved out a good share of the local market despite strong competition.

“The rise of online shopping has resulted in much greater price transparency and significantly intensified competition,” said Campbell.

“Traditional ‘bricks-and-mortar’ retailers must not only embrace the online channel, but also make the most of the in-store experience, which cannot be matched by online-only competitors.”

“In our core categories of furniture and appliances, the in-store experience is more important than ever. Customers in these core categories want to touch and feel products before they buy. They want to sit on the sofa, test the comfort of a bed and see whether their chosen fridge has all the storage compartments they need.

Campbell said good service, no-fuss delivery and the confidence that customers can talk to someone ‘just down the road’ are qualities that are highly valued by Kiwis.

“Combined with Smiths City’s point-of-sale finance offer, they will beat a good deal from an online-only retailer, hands down. We are excited by the opportunities in Auckland.”

The new stores offer wide aisles and each department is colour coded to help identify goods faster.

Furnishings are also displayed in lifestyle sets to show customers how a new sofa, bedroom suite or dining room table may look in the home.

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