A shift to inner-city living and rising consumer confidence is boosting Melbourne’s besieged suburban shopping streets.
Traders in prime shopping streets such as Bridge Road, Chapel Street and Toorak Road have suffered through one of the worst downturns in a decade, but new vacancy figures suggest the gloom is lifting.
Midway through 2013, the combined vacancy rate across Melbourne’s major suburban shopping strips reached its highest level in a decade as tight-fisted consumers abandoned bricks and mortar stores for online offerings.
That resulted in almost one in six shops in the one-time discount fashion heartland of Bridge Road standing empty.
Fresh figures from CBRE show that in the six months to January this year, the vacancy rate for 10 of Melbourne’s most prominent streets fell by 1.15 per cent. Even Bridge Road’s vacancy rate has fallen – from 15.18 per cent in June to 11.61 per cent in January.
The change was partly attributable to Melbourne’s burgeoning apartment market, CBRE’s Cam Taranto said. ”The increased residential population has resulted in better quality tenants in the strips,” he said.
The strip shopping thaw can be seen in Australians’ spending habits. According to CommSec’s research, real spending rose 0.9 per cent in the December quarter after a 0.8 per cent rise in the September quarter – the best back-to-back gains in 18 months.
Retailers were also benefiting from a bit more inflation – retail prices rose 1.1 per cent in the December quarter – equalling the highest quarterly rise in 4½ years, CommSec said. CBRE’s Zelman Ainsworth said rents in the top 10 prime strips were relatively stable over 2013.
Chapel Street maintained its lead as the most expensive, fetching $1000-$1400 per square metre of retail space.
Mr Ainsworth said national food outlets such as Menchie’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Lord of the Fries, 7-Eleven, Grill’d and Boost Juice were scouting for locations in retail strips. International retailers were also keen to set up in Chapel Street, Burke Road, High Street and Church Street, he said.
Between June last year and January this year, vacancy rates fell in Burke Road (3.03 per cent), Bridge Road (11.61 per cent), Chapel Street (3.63 per cent), Glenferrie Road, Malvern (4.58 per cent), Acland Street (2.04 per cent), Church Street (1.19 per cent) and Clarendon Street (5.7 per cent). Over the same period they rose in Puckle Street (2.75 per cent), Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn (4.31 per cent) and Toorak Road (9.6 per cent).
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.