Average retail sales significantly higher than forecasts at the opening of NZ’s largest store, bode well for the sector according to its owner.

Shoppers formed a 200m queue and waited over an hour, with some travelling from Taupo to be among the first to experience a new mega-retail concept introduced to New Zealand.

Nido a $60m locally owned furniture and homewares retailer opened the first stage of their 27,000sqm store after 18 months of construction over the weekend.

Vinod Kumar, Nido’s CEO says the rate of transactions during the first two days far surpassed their expectations and queues to enter the store got progressively larger over the course of the three days as word spread about the launch.

“It was clear from customers that despite the challenging economic times there is a strong demand for retail where the product mix and value proposition resonates with consumer needs - we believe this will offer the sector a degree of confidence as they work through a new business reality in the coming months,” he says. 

Kumar says their vision was to bring a large format, international retail experience to Kiwi consumers. 

“One of the things that surprised us from the weekend was the number of customers we talked to who had travelled from out of their region to visit the store,

“We even had customers from Waikato and Wellington telling us they no longer had to travel overseas to find a homewares product offering that matched their style aesthetic.

“We were also particularly pleased to see the support from a number of West Aucklanders who said they had followed the progress of the development over the past 18 months and felt a real affinity for the local store,” he says. 

Kumar says they are fortunate to have opened in a post COVID environment as the lockdown provided them with an opportunity to accommodate the constraints of Level 2.

“While delays caused by the impact of COVID-19 were a significant financial hit for us, we are grateful that it has given us the opportunity to plan around the Level 2 restrictions.

“What this has meant is that we were able to create a spacious environment and an atmosphere where customers don't feel rushed or pressured and can once again begin to experience the simple joy of shopping - something that has almost been forgotten in recent weeks,” he says.

Kumar says the second floor of the store will be opened in the weeks following the country’s move to Level 1.

“What customers will have seen on the shelves so far represents about half of the range we will have when the second floor opens in the coming weeks.

“The high average transaction value we saw over the weekend is particularly reassuring for us given that we had originally based our forecasts on having both floors open - with the second floor holding our higher ticket items such as lounge suites and dining tables,” he says.

Kumar says the store’s success is expected to provide a further boost for the economy with the creation of 90 more jobs in the coming months.