New Zealand Rugby has opened its first All Blacks store in a bid to diversify its income.

The move into the retail sector comes on the back of a record year, when it hauled in excess of one quarter of a billion dollars.

While it was easily the most income they have banked in a year, including a record $33 million profit, costs for the organisation have also risen substantially.

NZR chief executive Steve Tew said the store was a new area for the organisation.

Advertisement

"It is no secret we need to diversify our income streams and we think a stand-alone presence in the retail sector is worth exploring.

"The All Blacks brand already has a strong presence overseas and we are confident there is enough demand in the market for the concept to grow both within New Zealand and globally."

There was potential for the stores to become "retail destinations" for travellers and sports fans.

"It's a unique shopping experience where customers can immerse themselves in the All Blacks story, while also taking away a memorable piece of their experience."

NZR's income last year of $257m was nearly $100m more than 2016's income of $162m.

However, the NZR also spent more in 2017 - $224m, compared to $169m in 2016.

As a result, 2017 profit was $33m against a loss of $7m in 2016.

Along with increasing costs, including player payments to ward off the threat of them heading overseas, a major headwind lurking is the impending renegotiation of the current broadcast deal, which expires at the end of 2020.

Advertisement

Earlier this year Tew said post 2020 there was a deficit projection.

"We either change our expenditure model or we find ways to generate more money.

"If we don't make it [TV income] grow then we will have to shrink the business."

The store opened at Auckland Airport this morning and will sell the entire range of All Blacks merchandise.

NZR is working with Lagardère Travel Retail group, a leading international network of news and convenience outlets in transportation hubs around the world.

Pacific region chief executive Przemyslaw Lesniak said the store location would allow travellers the opportunity to experience first-hand the "All Blacks story".

It would include an LED archway entrance, Wall of Champions, a virtual reality Haka 360 experience, and a super-sized silver fern adorning the roof.

The store is located outside of the customs and security screening area, where it can be visited by both travellers and the public.

Auckland Airport retail and commercial general manager Richard Barker said he was "delighted" to have the first official All Blacks store at New Zealand's main gateway.

"The All Blacks are New Zealand's premier sports team and current back-to-back world champions.

"Their values and success are a perfect fit for our retail goal of providing customers with the best of New Zealand and the world."