Par­al­lel im­porter: We paved way for Ikea en­try

The Timaru Herald - - BUSINESS EXTEND THE REACH OF YOUR PRINT ADVERTISEM - Anuja Nad­karni

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.

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