Long lines no more: Nido fails, customers bail

Author
Cherie Howie, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 6 Dec 2020, 10:22AM
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Long lines no more: Nido fails, customers bail

Author
Cherie Howie, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 6 Dec 2020, 10:22AM

Six months ago, they were lining up to get into Nido's big blue box.

Promising hectares of floor space, thousands of products and a tidy hundred show rooms, the homeware retailer's June 1 open day lured hundreds of barely lockdown-free Kiwis to a $60 million box in an industrial corner of the West Auckland suburb of Henderson.

There they waited in queues stretching 50-minutes long and 200-people deep along the warehouse-style retailer's northern flank - a shopper's nightmare with the even more ghastly prequel of finding a parking space in the retailer's yet-to-be-finished carpark.

Yesterday, hours after the Herald revealed Nido had been put into receivership following the liquidation of the retailer's builder Vijay Holdings - whose director Vinod Kumar founded the Nido concept to rival Ikea's planned New Zealand expansion to become this country's largest homeware store - only the gloomy skies overhead remained the same.

Forget long lines of eager customers. There were barely any customers at all.

Queues outside Nido on the store's opening day in June. This week, it was put into receivership. Photo / File

Queues outside Nido on the store's opening day in June. This week, it was put into receivership. Photo / File

And those who had made their way into the latest failed monument to capitalism told the Herald on Sunday, yes, they'd heard Nido was in receivership.

And yes, that's why they were there.

"I thought it'd be cheaper," West Aucklander Tiffany Herman said.

"We came just to have a look and do Christmas shopping in the hope of getting a bargain."

She was disappointed to discover that didn't seem to be the case.

"Their Christmas trees are $200."

Another customer similarly walked out empty-handed after being told the maximum discount on the Queen-sized bed she wanted was 10 per cent.

"Freedom Furniture and Nood are better. They sometimes offer up to 50 per cent off," the woman said as she left Nido for the last time.

Tiffany Herman's mum, Rajni Herman, also didn't think they'd be back.

"Not unless there's a price drop."

A notice at the entrance, sticky-taped next to the Covid Tracer App QR code, told customers the retailer was in receivership and to "choose your purchase carefully" as refunds wouldn't be given.

Inside and up the escalator, cafe staff outnumbered the single customer in the 340-seat Perch cafe just after 10.30am.

The noise from shoes on the polished concrete floor was louder than the customers at Nido yesterday. Photo / Hayden Woodward

The noise from shoes on the polished concrete floor was louder than the customers at Nido yesterday. Photo / Hayden Woodward

The floor below, where cheaper homewares can be found, was busier.

But in Nido's signature showrooms most of the noise was limited to upbeat pop music over the sound system and the screech of shoppers' shoes as they ambled, showing little interest, past beds, couches and dining tables.

In the children's furniture section, a middle-aged man shook several bunk beds, before walking away, but a bunk with built-in cupboards quickly captured the attention of two girls.

"I could put my lamp here and extra sheets in here," said one excitedly, but the adults were less interested, and the group drifted away.

Despite the quiet of Nido's first trading day since its receivership went public, spending for the home is big business.

In May, the first month after the level 4 lockdown, electronic card spending on furniture, electrical and hardware goods rose by $93 million on May 2019 to reach $674m, according to Stats NZ.

Social media influencers post images of perfectly styled homes, with just the right accessories and soft furnishings, and their followers want to too.

Chanelle Anderson travelled from Te Awamutu to shop at Nido with her mum and sisters after seeing posts about the mega-store on Instagram.

"It's such a cool store," she said, before the group wrangled their newly-bought Christmas tree and decorations into the car boot.

But mum Erna Inglis was less impressed.

"They can't even finish the carpark. I think it's just too big and it's at the wrong time, with Covid. People just don't have the same amount of money, unless they need an eight-foot Christmas tree that they can't even fit into their car."

She felt for staff facing an uncertain future, Inglis said.

Another customer told the Herald on Sunday staff were putting on a brave face.

"[One said to me] 'I've already lost my job this year, now I've got this - but hey, it's 2020'."

Aside from the cafe, the last thing Nido customers see as they leave the 27,000sq m store, which earlier this year had hopes of eventually running 10,000 product lines, creating 180 new jobs and expanding to Wellington, Christchurch and Australia, is a Signature Homes-built show home.

The kitchen is smartly accessorised, the table set, the vase perfectly in place and the throw rug neatly draped across the couch.

But the roof is missing.