Parallel importer: We paved way for Ikea entry
Before there was any news of Ikea coming to New Zealand, there was Myflatpack, a Kiwi-owned parallel importer bringing the Swedish giant’s flat-pack furniture into the country.
But what will happen to Myflatpack once Ikea opens shop?
At Ikea’s announcement that its first store would be in Auckland last week, the multinational chain’s New Zealand manager, Will Edwards, said the business of parallel importing no longer looked ‘‘fruitful’’.
But Myflatpack manager Tristram Whimp said parallel importers had paved the way for the big retailer into New Zealand, giving Kiwis a taste of what the furniture maker is all about.
‘‘They might not look at us very kindly but certainly there’s a lot of Ikea in Kiwis’ homes from all the parallel importers around the country,’’ Whimp said.
Whimp said he had scaled back Myflatpack’s operation in anticipation of Ikea’s arrival, and was no longer selling Ikea stock.
The business has transitioned into a shipping service, importing furnishings from Bunnings, Ikea and Officeworks from Australia every month and charging customers just for shipping.
‘‘We make money by selling container space, basically. We tried to make Ikea as cheap as we could but we knew it would eventually open here. It’ll be interesting to see their pricing because all Ikeas are priced differently depending on the markets they’re in,’’ Whimp said.
At the announcement Ikea global chief executive Jesper Brodin said there would be a range of about 7000 products and the pricing would be competitive.
He said Ikea catered for people with ‘‘big dreams, big needs and slim wallets’’.
One of its most popular items, the Billy bookshelf, is priced at US$69 ($101) in the United States. It retails for A$50 ($52) across the ditch and £45 ($84) in Britain.
Whimp said he was excited for Ikea’s launch and would shop there himself. ‘‘Ikea is fantastic – that’s why we started the business. We see Ikea as an affordable solution for smaller homes.’’
He said he expected Ikea’s kitchens to be one of their most popular ranges in New Zealand.
‘‘Everyone here seems to be obsessed with property development. Kitchens will be popular because they’re so much cheaper than what you can get here.’’
Myflatpack’s Tristram Whimp says parallel importers gave Kiwis a taste of the furniture giant’s products.