11-Jan

Ikea is coming to Auckland, followed by the South Island – and it’s bringing its famous meatballs.

Ikea’s development project manager Will Edwards confirmed this morning the new Ikea store will open in Auckland and also promised to complement the store with a second store for the regions.

“Kiwis have been asking for a long time. The blue and yellow building is iconic.”

The announcement was made at Auckland’s waterfront venue The Cloud, by its global chief executive Jesper Brodin.

Auckland to get frist Ikea store

Edwards said the main flagship operations will be in Auckland because of its reach. “We will move swiftly as quickly as we can, next step will be in South Island and then work out way up.”

It will be bringing a big warehouse. While Edwards wouldn’t give specifics, he said Auckland will be getting the classic iconic Ikea megastore.

“That’s the very least the New Zealand people can get after waiting all this time.”

The company would bring everything it could to Auckland as soon as it could, and it had the infrastructure to do it all at once, he said.

Edwards was tight-lipped on potential locations, an approximate opening date and size.

“It will be open in the next few years, you’ve waited 76 years you’ll have to wait a little bit longer. It can’t be done overnight.”

Edwards said Ikea would not be looking to source materials locally, except for food. The Ikea meatballs will be part of the deal.

Kiwis have waited for years for Ikea’s arrival, and more than 19,000 people have liked the Facebook page “bring Ikea to New Zealand”.

Brodin said Ikea was “a vision-driven company”.

“People with big dreams, big needs and slim wallets,” he said.

“We’re big on function and quality.”

He was joined for the announcement by Edwards, who will be Ikea New Zealand’s manager.

There was room in the New Zealand market for Ikea, Edwards said.

“Not many international brands have established in New Zealand, that why the homewares section is shallow.

“We believe competition is healthy. We will fill a gap in the market and complement what is already here.”

Since confirmation of its arrival last month, the retailer has created a lot of buzz, with people speculating sizes and locations.

On Thursday afternoon, a day before its launch announcement, staff were seen setting up Ikea’s iconic mock bedroom and bathroom displays.

Ikea came very close to opening its first Kiwi store in 2008 but lost a four year pursuit after the Environment Court ruled its then proposed location in Auckland, Mount Wellington, would cause traffic chaos.

Hamilton then put its hand up in late 2009 to host an Ikea outlet. Its economic development agency invited Ikea scouts to visit the city, but the response was reported to be lukewarm from the Australian franchise owner.

Late last year Ikea announced a new strategy to keep up with changing shopping habits and the rise of e-commerce planning 30 new small stores around the world.

There is the classic, big box, mega-store at the edge of a major city, normally 34,000 square metres, with the entire range, big showroom floors with the products displayed in mock bedrooms and bathrooms, for example.

The mega-stores include everything from homeware to groceries and even a cafeteria with the famed meatballs and lox (smoked salmon for us Kiwis).

There is the mid-range store like this one in Poland, that was just 5000sqm and opened in November last year.

No iconic Swedish meatballs served here but consumers can walk in, design their ideal their rooms and place an order to have products be shipped to them.

And then a mini click-and-collect store like the 900sqm store in a Westfield mall in Stratford City in the UK where you can order the full range and pick-up.

The 76 year old company was founded by Ingvar Feodor Kamprad and the name was derived from his name and birthplace – Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd.

Kamprad died last January aged 91.

“It’s a good thing for New Zealand. Yes it’ll put pressure on the smaller retailers, but when Bunnings and Mitre 10 started out they put pressure on existing players, it’s the new way – to have a megastore and sell products at a cheaper price,” Barnett said.

“It’s good news for the DIY guy, for students, and it will create more jobs in construction and retail.”

By Anuja Nadkarni