Brit expat shock as Ikea New Zealand may opt for smaller stores

Published:  14 Jan at 6 PM
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Several months after the announcement that the IKEA brand was about to embrace conventional New Zealand, it seems there might not be enough customers to justify its massive store footprints!

The news that Ikea was finally coming to the New Zealand outpost for disenchanted expat Brits struck fear into the hearts of husbands who’d hated the UK’s massive stores at least as much as their wives adored the chain’s iconic style and great prices. Nowadays, it seems only two locations, South Auckland and Westgate, may be able to justify the expense of setting up their usual endless acres containing car parks, food halls, restaurants and big-box stores, while the rest of the country may have to make do with mini-versions with a limited amount of choice.

It seems the existing market for affordable designer housewares and furniture may be strong enough to resist Ikea’s effect on its turnover, with only much-travelled Kwis staying loyal to the brand and the remainder of the population quite happy with Ikea’s main local rival, Warehouse. However, Kiwis, and especially style-conscious British expat women who miss their full-day outings, may find the compromise too much to bear.

Andy Florkowski, associate director of New Zealand’s mobile network operator RCG, believes Kiwis and expats alike will be expecting classic-style stores, but adds he’s expecting smaller stores more suitable for the islands’ lower population. He believes this model is more in tune with ensuring customer expectations are satisfied without risking the chain’s commercial viability in this competitive market. Testing the water with a few smaller outlets, he believes, is the best way forward.
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