Ikea took its time to launch in New Zealand but says once it opens its Auckland megastore it will accelerate its expansion into other parts of the country.
The Swedish retail giant has confirmed its first store will open in Auckland but has remained tight-lipped on details of when, exactly where and the logistics of the megastore.
The furniture retailer, which was founded in Almhult in the 1940s, has yet to lock in a location for its Auckland flagship store, which when complete will feature a Swedish-inspired restaurant and children's play area.
While the wait until it opens looks lengthy as Ikea has to build the site which could take between three and 10 years, once the first is open the retailer will look to accelerate its rate of expansion across the country.
After Auckland, Ikea will then open a store in the South Island.
Ikea Group global CEO Jesper Brodin said the retailer had big plans for the New Zealand market but would not elaborate on whether those would take form in a physical or digital format.
"In most of the markets we have been fairly slow, our mode of expansion was normally only the big stores, so it has taken us years to reach people in all parts of a market, including in Sweden where we started.
"The dream and ambition is to start day one and reach as many people as possible, if not all at once - it's a very ambitious dream but that's what we're going to go for," Brodin said.
"New Zealand's going to be the coolest place for Ikea."
Ikea is at the very beginning of its entrance into the market, and has not yet finalised a location for the first store, the company's development project manager and market lead, Will Edwards, said.
"There are many locations that fit the right criteria," he said.
Edwards would not elaborate on which Auckland locations were being considering but said Ikea, which is considered the largest furniture retailer in the world, was working closely with the Government to make a decision.
"Our ambition is to move as fast as possible from now on," Brodin said.
Ikea is set to hire around 200 people for the Auckland store, and will offer its full range of 7000 products - like its big-box stores in other markets.
"What we're doing in Ikea right now is we're actually exploring new formats ... we're currently doing more than 20 tests of different sizes, that's us trying to kind of discover what is relevant," Brodin said.
"As we are testing that, which is going to coincide with the opening in New Zealand, we will observe what really works and then we will curiously look into bringing complementary concepts to New Zealand. That will be the way we look at not only the North Island but actually the whole of New Zealand."
Analysts have in the past said Ikea thinks of New Zealand and Australia as one market, with the move to Aotearoa logical given its footprint in most major Australian cities. However, the retailer will expand differently in New Zealand.
"Ikea New Zealand is not Ikea Australia ... there's more than 40 years of Ikea experience sitting in Australia that we will draw learnings from but we will design the offer here to fit New Zealand," Edwards said.
"Since this is the latest market that we're opening in we'll take all learnings we have across the Ikea world and try to bring it at the same time to New Zealand."
Ikea believes its New Zealand launch will have a "significant economic impact".
The dream and ambition is to start day one and reach as many people as possible, if not all at once - it's a very ambitious dream but that's what we're going to go for.
"It's come through quite clearly that there is a gap in the [market] - people are having a challenge with access ... they are also frustrated that they quite simply can't afford a total offer, and we believe we can bring a solution."
Ikea will launch a pop-up store ahead of the flagship store opening. It did not share details on when, where or for how long the pop-up shop will operate.
The retailer also plans to offer its entire range to consumers through its online store - once the flagship store opens.
"The ambition is by the opening date of the store we also open accessibility throughout New Zealand," Brodin said. "We could easily deliver to all parts of New Zealand but how to do it in an affordable way will be the challenge."
He implied this would include "click and collect" stores throughout the country, like Ikea has in Australia, to service online orders: "When we open in New Zealand we will bring all options to people."
Ikea says it will pay tax in New Zealand. Last year the group reported just over 30 per cent tax on its operations.