Responding to reports that a property consultancy company has been engaged to do market research for the furniture giant, a spokesperson for Ikea told Inside Retail the retailer is “always exploring opportunities to expand and be more accessible to people”.
“However, at the moment, they do not have confirmed plans to open a store or sell online in New Zealand.”
Meanwhile according to a retail consultant, an Ikea store would be very well received by New Zealand consumers, as there is significant awareness of the brand and strong spending potential in furniture category driven by a relatively strong economy off the back of the housing market.
Chris Wilkinson, retail consultant of First Retail Group NZ, said an Ikea store would be welcomed by New Zealand consumers but added that from a strategic perspective, he can’t really see they’d be opening a store in the country any time soon.
“The chain has placed most of their emphasis on growth in existing markets,” he said.
After the Swedish retail giant bought out the Ikea franchise outlets previously operating in South Australia and Western Australia, Wilkinson said the two Aussie states had populations that rivalled NZ’s largest city.
Wilkinson said if Ikea would open a store in the country, however, he believes the furniture chain’s first store would be in Auckland where the population density and consumer profile would very much match Ikea’s ideal shopper demographic.
“Suburbs such as Mount Wellington have established themselves as ‘destination’ centres leveraging strong road and public transport links,” he said. “It’s proximity to the motorway supports the potential to reach not only the local market, but be within easy reach of other regions within a couple of hours’ drive time, too.”
Wilkinson added he believes if Ikea were to open a store in New Zealand, it would have to be a big store, likely a “full experience” offer, with retail, restaurant and children’s centre, similar to the Australian format stores.
Article updated to accurately reflect that Ikea bought the franchise outlets operating in South Australia and Western Australia, which were previously run separately to its business.