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Bremworth enters the retail market with Auckland store

Venkat Raman
Auckland, December 14, 2023

Wool carpet manufacturer Bremworth has announced its entry into the retail market with its first store in Auckland.

The brick-and-mortar, 99 Sq M brick-and-mortar store is a part of the company’s strategy to grow its share of the domestic and export markets.

The store will be located at Residium (formerly the site of the Home Idea Centre) in the Strand, Parnell area of Auckland CBD. The building has more than 80 home and living suppliers.

Bremworth Chief Executive Greg Smith said that the prototype brand experience and retail concept store will be expanded throughout New Zealand and Australia if the trial proves successful.

He said that the new concept store has been designed to offer consumers and interior designers an immersive retail environment where they can get inspired, learn about and interact with the brand.

“Once we have proof of concept, the natural next step is to expand our omni-channel concept around the country, and possibly into Australia and other export markets,” he said.

Bremworth’s Spinning plant in Napier, New Zealand (Image Supplied)

State of the industry

Mr Smith said that the local rug industry is highly fragmented and that research shows that more than half of rug purchases by Kiwis are made offline.

“The opening of the store is designed to help them diversify into a growing segment of the market and address the complexity that can be associated with the category,” he said.

According to Mr Smith, Kiwi homes traditionally place carpet in the lounge but there is a trend to use hard flooring, which may then be covered with a showpiece rug.

“We know that for many consumers purchasing a rug online or from a small sample can be challenging. Despite the advance in online retail, there is a segment of the market where shopping for flooring is still a very tactile experience and a high-involvement purchase. Most rugs are sold through big box department or furniture stores,” he said.

Mr Smith said that a dominant brand has not yet emerged in this part of the market.

Consumers have little flexibility when it comes to the size of the product, let alone whether it is made with New Zealand wool, he said.

E-Commerce growth

Bremworth is reported to have sold rugs valued at $1.1 million online and the figure accounted for an increase of 45% over the previous 12 months.

According to Mr Smith, the new retail store will accrue flow-on benefits for Bremworth’s business.

“The performance of our e-commerce channel in a relatively short time frame has given us confidence that there is considerable demand for our product and opportunity for the wool sector. In-store, we can work with a customer to understand what their needs are and design a customised rug which perfectly matches their space, and then deliver it to their home. It is exciting because a customer can transform the look and feel of a room in minutes with a rug they design. The brand experience store will support our retail network by helping to communicate the Bremworth story in a bespoke retail setting, contrasting and colour-matching the carpet across a wide range of natural materials,” he said.

“We live our lives on carpet, but it does not tend to get the same attention as say a bathroom or kitchen or even a rug. We need to elevate the importance of carpet in the home from a design and aesthetic perspective to grow our share in the wool market,” he added.

Mr Smith said that the company offers online consultations and experiences to cater to customers outside the store’s physical location.

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