Ikea in New Zealand: build-up falls flat with news of a shop in a few years’ time

Swedish furniture company’s long-awaited announcement revealed … a long wait for a store

The stage was set, a tentative announcement had been made, and the foreign minister was already claiming credit for it. Breaking news alerts had been sent by the major media outlets and liveblogs prepared to transmit Ikea’s vision for New Zealand to the people. Even Sweden’s ambassador, Par Ahlberger, told those assembled that he was an ambassador for Ikea, according to Stuff.

But on Friday, as the tension reached fever pitch, reality came crashing down like a set of badly assembled drawers. The vision was more a back-of-envelope sketch showing Auckland would get a store and some point in a few years’ time, plus there would be another, smaller one, in the South Island.

The company’s global chief executive, Jesper Brodin, and Ahlberger revealed the scant details at a press conference in a mock-up Ikea living room.

But to the chagrin of New Zealand furniture fans, the assembled team confirmed only that a pop-up store in Auckland would come first, followed by a full-size store which needed to be built from scratch, followed by a South Island store at some point in the future.

On the upside up to 400 new jobs will be created when Ikea does eventually arrive, and the furniture giant would offer affordable options for New Zealanders who pay significantly more for everyday goods, including basic household furniture.

“Such an excellent start of 2019 when we commemorate 250 years of friendship between Sweden and the Pacific region,” claimed Ahlberger in the build-up.

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