Big-box furniture retailer Nido is gearing up to open the second level of its 27,000 sq m West Auckland store next week if government does not change its stance on the planned move to alert level 2.
The largest retail store in New Zealand, its more than 10,000 sqm upper level - home to a fully furnished 3-bedroom house - will open on Monday, August 31. Government has advised that Auckland will move to alert level 2 on Sunday at midnight but it is not yet known if this will be delayed due to increasing Covid-19 cases in the community.
The multi-million-dollar retail site was built from scratch in 18 months, thought up about five years ago by former Mitre 10 Mega concept founder Vinod Kumar.
The upper level of the store will house more than 8,500 product lines, including larger furniture such as couches, dining tables and beds, 100 showrooms staged by interior designers and 80 exclusive brands.
Nido anticipates it will have a full product range of 10,000 items early next year.
Nido first opened its doors to the ground floor of its store in May following a two-month delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It has remained shut and unable to trade following Auckland's move back into alert level 3 earlier this month.
Before the second lockdown, more than 14,000 people were visiting the store each week, Nido general manager Julian Bottaro told the Herald. The company is currently working to launch its online store before Christmas.
The $60 million rival to Ikea will also open its 340-seat Kiwiana-inspired restaurant The Perch on Monday. It had originally planned to open the entire store at once but made the decision to open in sections following disruption from Covid-19.
Bottaro said big-box retailers, globally, had experienced an uplift in sales since the onset of Covid-19 and the popularity of large scale retail sites was again on the rise.
The pandemic had produced a "weird silver lining" for the retailer, he said: "This is a blessing in disguise, people are home now, spending more time with their families. People can't travel so they are spending time at home and are wanting to make their homes nicer and a better environment."
Nido - Italian for nest - beat its sales forecasts in the first four weeks of its opening. It would not share any financial information.
Spring was typically the start of the busy season for hardware and homeware stores experiencing greater sales as consumers begin work on their homes in the warmer months.
That coupled with ongoing restrictions around international put Nido in good stead for a strong sales period, Bottaro said, adding that he believed this segment of the retail market would largely be immune to the effects of the economic downturn.
"In certain parts of the retail sector like clothing and tourism, those categories have been hit heavily, but in homewares and if you talk about the Bunnings and Mitre 10s and furniture companies, you'll see that they are trending quite well.
"I'm quietly confident that 2021 will continue on the same trend as the third-fourth quarter of 2020."
Nido anticipates at least 20,000 people will be visiting its store each week once the second-level is open. Its 250 sq m children's play area and creche facility is expected to open in time for the all-important Christmas period.
It anticpates that it will have a team of between 180 to 200 people by Christmas.
Nido spent $60 million building the store and has put a further $30m into the business. It has 199 shareholders and has been joint-funded by Kumar and property syndicator the Maat Group.
It has "earmarked" additional sites for more Nido stores in New Zealand, including in Wellington and Christchurch. It wants to have at least three stores throughout the country and has registered the company in Australia for further expansion.
Henderson will remain home to the retailer chain's "super-store", additional stores will be smaller albeit large-format satellite stores, Bottaro said.
Nido welcomes rival Ikea
Nido is all about competition and says it is very much looking forward to the launch of Costco and Ikea in New Zealand.
It does not see Swedish cult-favourite Ikea as threat and had conducted third-party research which found that Ikea's launch in the New Zealand market would have a marginal impact on its financials.
"We think having Ikea [in Auckland] is a good thing - we're not afraid of competition, and I think that will enhance the customer experience as well. Ikea focuses on one style, if you like Nordic furniture that's great, but if you don't like Nordic you can come to Nido because we've got six different styles."
Bottaro said if Ikea was set up close by Nido it would mean more visitors to the area and traffic into the store.
This was the same for Costco, which is building its first New Zealand site, about a five-minute drive from the Lincoln Drive-based retailer.
"Competition is good for the country and we encourage these big international companies to come here as that will make us better and give the customer more choice."