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Exciting times ahead for bricks and mortar retailing in NZ

Desmond Wai

We constantly hear how internet retailing is changing the way we purchase retail goods with Nielson Media Consumer Stats saying that around 2/3rds of New Zealanders have shopped online over the past twelve months and projections that this will increase to over 80% by 2026. In saying this e-commence have their own challenges with the well overdue introduction of GST on overseas online purchases and ever increasing delivery charges (Amazon Prime example).

The majority of people that we speak to agree that it's about time that we see a fairer treatment and protection of our own retailers and economy and if all retailers are treated the same then it’s an improved playing field for all.

In the USA alone it’s reported that 3,800 retail stores are estimated to close during 2018. This is compared to over 10,000 retail stores closing in the US in 2017 alone.  Below is a list provided by Business Insider from data on the US retail market.


As somebody who has been involved in the Bricks and Mortar Property Industry for over 25 years, the above information on face value would likely send a shiver up my spine and the spine of dedicated bricks and mortar property owners.

However, despite an increase in online shopping, our research tells us that there is little if any impact on the bricks and mortar growth of retail developments in New Zealand. In fact, it's fascinated to discover that currently under construction in Auckland is in excess of 150,000 sq metres of new retail space and a substantial amount beyond Auckland in the regions. A quick summary of development activity is outlined below;

  • Commercial Bay, Auckland – Over 18,000 square metres of new retail space with 100 plus retail stores including top brands such as H&M, Furla, Herschel Supply Co, Superette, Burger Burger and Saxon and Parole. The retail opening is anticipated for late 2018.
  • Westfield Newmarket, Auckland – $790 million development anchored by David Jones, Farmers, Countdown, Event Cinemas and over 230 speciality stores, to be completed late 2019.
  • Sylvia Park, Auckland - $200million extension of NZ’s largest shopping centre expanding the retail mix to finally include a Department Store (Farmers), 80 new retail stores, more carparking and office developments making Sylvia Park the largest retail centre in NZ  with an expected value of over $1 billion dollars once completed.
  • Silverdale Mall, Auckland owned and developed by the Pascoe Group that also own Farmers, Pascoes, Stevens, Whitcoulls and Stewart Dawson opened in March 2018 with 30 stores and 400 caparks.
  • Botany Town Centre,  Auckland  $78m development which will expand the centre to more than 60,000sqm and over 200 retailers. This is scheduled to be completed mid 2019.
  • Milford Shopping Centre,  Auckland, undertaking a $50 million expansion which will add an additional 20 stores with future opportunity for residential with consent already gained for around 300 apartments
  • Long Bay, Auckland – Todd properties $70 million Town Centre as part of its 162 hectare housing development.
  • Ownership changes in Centres at Westcity in Auckland and North City in Porirua Wellington, also suggest redevelopment times ahead for these centres.
  • Outside of Auckland, there is also major activity including Tauranga Crossing stage two – due to open Oct 2018 with 20 new stores plus Cinemas and an entertainment precinct. In early 2019, Bayfair at Mount Maunganui expect to complete a $115m expansion  - including an  additional 50 stores plus a  7 screen United Cinema  with over 13,000 seat capacity,  Excelsa Centre in Papamoa Tauranga will include an Art house Cinemas and new food and beverage facility; Trade Central, Rotorua expanded its offering in March this year with a new K Mart and speciality stores, and in Christchurch this year – Northlands is planning a $20m development called Langtons Quarter, Merivale Malls long overdue $10million upgrade is planned, Whilst in Queenstown the O’Connell Mall is undergoing a redevelopment , Five Mile and Queenstown Central K Mart and other retail are due to open late 2018.

On reflection, any media coverage of an increase in online shopping should be tagged with information relative to any increase in bricks and mortar retail facilities to ensure that there is a balance to the thinking.

It is abundantly clear that despite what may have happened in the USA, the NZ increase in population continues to demand the physical increase of retail bricks and mortar facilities.

In my view, there has been no significant major erosion of Category A shopping centre facilities, despite growth in online shopping. It is apparent that in the foreseeable future, the potential for well-located and presented category A retail environments will continue to be successful.

Best 2018 NZ Interiors Revealed

treaty display

Winners of the 2018 Interior Awards’ nine categories were announced on 21 June at a sold out gala event at St Matthew-in-the-City in Auckland. Judges, sponsors, architects and interior designers alike gathered for a celebration of New Zealand’s top commercial interiors. Jury convenor and editor of Interior magazine Federico Monsalve said, “There were some big recurring themes this year – wabi-sabi, remembrance and quietude – but perhaps most noticeable among them was Māoridom. Many large and small projects throughout the country seemed to be infusing their designs with deep and rich traditional narratives as well as spatial solutions that take into account Māori ways of utilising space. Long may this last!”

The He Tohu Document Room – He whakapapa kōrero, he whenua kuraby Studio Pacific Architecture took home a whopping three awards this year, winning the Craftsmanship and Civic categories, as well as the Supreme Award. The room, located in the National Library in Wellington, houses New Zealand’s most influential documents.

The design for this room of such gravity is striking, emotionally and physically.

This project was a standout from the start and received the highest scores, unanimously, in both the Civic and Craftsmanship categories. The judges highlighted the ripples carved into the room’s façade and a strip of pounamu at the room’s entrance – both representing symbols of the nation’s history.


Our design for the Māori Television offices was selected as the Workplace over 1,000m2 winner this year. The jury commented, “The designers began thinking about this workplace by using the steps of the pōwhiri and extrapolating that across their spatial analysis. The result is a work environment that seems to understand that cultural standpoint and the ways in which it can set it apart from traditional workplaces.”

The judges commended the use of traditional Māori patterns as functional elements throughout the interior.

They said, “Of note is its usage of artworks … and images of navigation tools to intersperse a deep cultural narrative further within the workplace.”

Congratulations to all other finalists and winners!

In the Press

Local Media Highlights from the past week...


QV's average property values have fallen in Auckland, Tauranga and Wellington over the last three months - vendors warned against unrealistic price expectations

Quotable Value is warning flattening or falling house prices mean we are now in a buyer's market and some vendors may have unrealistic expectations about what their property is worth.

(Source: Interest)


One reporter’s doomed quest to use Google’s tax tactics

Hayden Donnell read about Google’s tax strategy, and went on a journey to try and replicate it for himself.

“Can I formally notify you that I’m not paying tax in 2018?”


(Source: The Spinoff)


KiwiBuild could provide a launch pad for some major new competitors in the building industry and that could force costs down

The Government’s announcement that it's calling for expressions of interest from companies interested in setting up large scale prefabricated housing factories could herald the start of a major shake-up of New Zealand’s construction industry.

(Source: Interest)


Facial recognition tech is taking over public spaces

When a CIA-backed venture capital fund took an interest in Rana el Kaliouby's face-scanning technology for detecting emotions, the computer scientist and her colleagues did some soul-searching — and then turned down the money.

(Source: NZ Herald)

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