Sat, Jan 12, 2019 - Page 10 News List

IKEA announces plans to open first store in New Zealand near Auckland

AP, WELLINGTON

Customers leave after shopping at IKEA’s first store in India after it opened in Hyderabad on Aug. 9 last year. Swedish home furnishings giant IKEA yesterday announced plans to open its first store in New Zealand.

Photo: AP

Swedish home furnishings giant IKEA yesterday announced plans to open its first store in New Zealand.

The company said it would build the store near the largest city of Auckland over the next few years, and would open a pop-up store to give customers a taste of what was to come before the flagship store opened.

The announcement was welcomed by many New Zealanders concerned with high prices and limited selections for home furnishings, due in part to the costs of shipping to the island nation of 5 million people.

Others worried that IKEA could spell doom for some local retailers and manufacturers.

IKEA said planning is still underway for the location, size and opening date of the store, which would include a restaurant featuring its famous Swedish meatballs.

The company said it would employ several hundred New Zealanders and offer 7,000 products in the store and online.

The store is to be run by the Ingka Group, which is the biggest retailer for IKEA within its franchise system.

IKEA announced last month it was granting Ingka the franchise rights to New Zealand.

“We’re really looking forward to bringing the full IKEA experience to New Zealand, working in partnership with the local community to make IKEA a part of Kiwis’ life at home, starting with Auckland,” Ingka Group chief executive Jesper Brodin said in a statement.

Ingka in November announced plans to create a net 4,000 jobs over the next two years by expanding its online presence and opening new stores in city centers to complement its trademark larger stores in the suburbs, but it also planned staffing cutbacks.

It said the changes would create 11,500 new jobs and it would lay off 7,500 staff.

Ingka operates 367 IKEA stores in 30 nations and employs about 160,000 of IKEA’s total workforce of 208,000.

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