The founder of the country's largest newly opened furniture and homeware retailer says the response to the brand amid uncertainty has affirmed his belief that a store of this kind was missing from the New Zealand market.
Henderson-based Nido opened the ground floor to its 27,000sq m store on Saturday and more than 6000 people visited the West Auckland business over the weekend.
And although the retailer had not made up the financial loss it had incurred by delaying its opening by two months due to the lockdown, trade was higher than it had forecast.
Nido managing director Vinod Kumar, who founded the Mitre 10 Mega concept, said he was "extremely pleased" with the response the shop had received so far - and was considering his options for opening more locations.
"If someone said, 'will you do another one', I could just about say my next venture is Christchurch," said Kumar, who founded the concept 10 years ago.
The name Nido came about two years ago. Before that, the project was called "Everest".
"A lot of people would say 'where are you at' and we'd say we're at base camp, or just about there, running out of oxygen ... [now] we're almost at the summit. What we've offered the public is 30 per cent of the range, there's still the top level to go," Kumar told the Herald.
The $60 million rival to Ikea will carry 10,000 product lines, have 100 display rooms as well as a full-size three-bedroom show home, staged by a team of interior designers, and create 180 jobs once it's fully open. Nido currently employs 95 staff.
The second level of the store, which will house mainly furniture, is expected to open in four weeks, along with its Kiwiana-inspired cafeteria, The Perch. A large-scale children's play area and the customised furniture division will open later in the year.
Inspiration for Nido was drawn from big-box retail stores in Britain and the United States. The retailer is often compared to Swedish retail giant Ikea with its sprawling stores and thousands of affordable furniture and homeware product lines.
Kumar said Nido was designed with millennials in mind; opposite in nature to the Mitre 10 stores he had built in the past.
Unlike the Swedish retailer, Nido will carry local and European goods rather than its own branded goods. It also has a commercially slanted offering, Nido@work, which will carry thousands of commercial furniture products targeting businesses.
While a flurry of retailers are shutting stores, laying off staff and undergoing restructures amid disruption from Covid-19 and fears for the sector, Nido is forging on with its opening plans, two months after it initially set March 30 for the opening.
Kumar is confident the market Nido operates in will face an increase in spending in the months ahead as consumers swap international travel for investing in their properties. Recent examples of this have included at surge in spending at hardware stores Mitre 10 and Bunnings following an easing of lockdown restrictions.
"With people not spending money in say travel, holidays overseas, they have surplus funds and people will use that on their property. It's not only us, car sales might also go up."
Christchurch, Tauranga and Wellington have been earmarked as locations for Nido's next stores. The long-term plans are to franchise the business in Australia, Kumar said.
A South Island store would be the retailer's next move, he said: "If somebody said would you do it, today, I'd say absolutely - if I had the money."
"Nido has shown the way already," he said.
Kumar said the company had already registered the name in Australia.
"[The Auckland] shop is designed for 1.5 million population. In New Zealand we've marked four locations, not all full-sized; they'll be smaller versions."
He said he would know the timeline for expansion within the next six months.