Whip out your Allen keys; IKEA is coming to the Capital.
Whilst a vast majority of Canberrans are rejoicing at the prospect of purchasing trendy and affordable furniture without having to take a day trip to Sydney and lug it all back down the Federal Highway, others are considering the downfalls of the Swedish flatpack furniture giant appearing in the ACT.
Once IKEA arrives and opens for business, you can expect it to pretty well demolish independent furniture stores. Sales will probably start to dwindle pretty quickly and staff will need to be laid off to meet costs and some of these businesses will have to close their doors indefinitely. Even the larger chain stores like Fantastic Furniture may see a drop in sales given that IKEA is delivering a similar product at similar prices, paired with the novelty of it being a fresh new brand.
One business that we are likely see close down almost immediately is Bring it Home, a small business owned by two best friends – Michael and Loyzek. These guys travel to Sydney, pick up IKEA orders for customers and transport it all back to Canberra, delivering people’s goods right to their front door. I really feel for these two – they have a pretty unique business model and through no fault of their own, it will eventually come crashing down on top of them. Perhaps there may still be business opportunity for them in Canberra? I have a small car that wouldn’t fit much furniture in it – even when it’s flatpacked – could there possibly be a niche market for Canberra and surrounds delivery? If Michael and Loyzek can compete with whatever price Ikea charges for home delivery, I think they would probably retain a good customer base.
Are there any pros in IKEA coming to Canberra? Yes. A few.
Besides the awesome furniture and funky home décor that IKEA specialises in, with new business – and big business at that – comes a stack of new jobs. Hopefully down the track the poor souls that inevitably lose their jobs in small furniture stores will be able to pick up employment with IKEA. The last thing the Territory needs right now is more job losses.
You can also expect a boost in visitors from cities like Goulburn and Wagga Wagga now that they have no need to drive to Sydney for all their Swedish furniture needs. IKEA opening at the Majura Park shopping centre will hopefully bring a big breath of fresh air to that precinct and boost sales in the many stores that always seem to be lacking customers. Perhaps it’s just my luck but whenever I head out to Majura Park – fairly regularly, at least 2 or 3 times a week – it’s always a ghost town. It’s the best place to do your shopping if you, like me, hate people and like to shop in peace.
When the furniture superstore opens up in about 12 months time, will you be there pushing and shoving to get through the door first? Or will you, like other Canberrans, be throwing your Allen keys into the lake and boycotting the Swedish supererstore in favour of some locally-owned, independent furniture stores?