A furniture retailer of mass scale set to rival IKEA is under construction in an Auckland suburb and will open in the spring.
Nido Living will open the doors to its 27,000 sq m store - larger than the size of three rugby fields - in Henderson in the second half of the year but will turn on its online store before then. Exact details on when it will open are unknown.
Construction on the mega-store will cost in excess of $60 million and is currently just 10 per cent complete. Once open, it will employ around 200 staff.
Nido was founded by civil engineer Vinod Kumar, who has previously owned three Mitre 10 stores and helped to develop the Mitre 10 Mega concept store.
Kumar, managing director of Nido, said the furniture retailer will open after nine years of research into innovative retail models around the world.
Plans for the store began two years ago and construction on the 31,000 sq m site, including the car park, began in October.
Nido is much like Ikea and will, like the Swedish retailer, have an instore restaurant and children's play area when complete.
Kumar could not share details about the restaurant with the Herald but said the cuisine would reflect Nido being New Zealand owned and operated.
He said it was not a conscious decision to launch Nido before the European furniture retailer made its long-awaited New Zealand debut.
"We knew Ikea were going to come some time, even seven, eight, 10 years ago, when we knew the person who had got the franchise for Australia also had the franchise for New Zealand, so we knew one day they'd come but that actually wasn't a hindrance at all," he said.
"We were going to do it regardless."
Nido will sell furniture and homeware from 80 European brands and the Henderson mega-store will feature more than 100 display rooms. It will have a product range of 10,000 items - more than the range of 7000 products Ikea has said it would stock when it eventually opens an Auckland store.
The retailer's first store will open in Auckland before it expands into the regions. Christchurch and Tauranga would be logical secondary and third sites, Kumar said.
"What we intend to do is actually be able to service the whole country."
Prior to the Henderson store opening, Nido will in June launch its online store which it will service from a distribution centre near the Ports of Auckland.
Kumar said he did not think Ikea was a threat to Nido.
"We believe in competition - it will be good for the public to have more choice, something Kiwis have not be entitled to for quite a while," he said.
"This will be completely new for the country and because it is affordable I think Kiwis will love it. It will bring people to see it, for example if they come [to Auckland] to see the cricket or rugby."
Kumar said retail prices at Nido would be inline with those of Ikea's, but it would also offer high-end more premium products and customisation services.
Jonathan Elms, Massey University retail and marketing professor, said it was bad timing for Nido to be open a store with a similar offering now that Ikea had announced it will open up shop in the country.
"Ikea have a lot of resource, a lot of talent and they could effectively squeeze them out of the market place relatively easily if this new outfit tries to compete with them directly," Elms said.
"What they could do is come into New Zealand and be a loss-leader for a period of time and squeeze out that sort of competition.
"It's not going to be a categorical disaster for them but they've got to offer something different - they can't go and emulate what Ikea has done overseas."
Elms, said he was not convinced the Ikea-esque allure of Nido or the head start in operating would be enough to win Ikea's following in New Zealand.
"Yes, Ikea aren't here at the moment but a lot of Kiwis are aware of what the brand is and what the experience is. Nido will be judged in terms of reference to Ikea."
There is a furniture store trading under the name of Nido Living in San Francisco. Kumar said he did not know anything about it when questioned by the Herald.