Small retailers have been urged to collaborate in order to adapt to the rise of shopping centres as catch-all destinations for consumers.
The third annual Big Guns survey, compiled by retail publication Shopping Centre News, reveals Melbourne’s Chadstone Shopping Centre has held the top spot as Australia’s biggest shopping centre in terms of turnover.
Chadstone, which is also Australia’s largest shopping centre in size, delivered a 20% increase in moving annual turnover in 2010, recording sales of $1.28 billion.
SCN defines “big gun” centres as those with a gross lettable area in excess of 45,000 square metres, with Westfield stores in NSW, Queensland and Victoria rounding out the top five in 2010.
These centres are often considered community focal points, containing food courts, cinemas, leisure and entertainment facilities, and restaurants.
Retail consultant Debra Templar believes a lot of it comes down to marketing, arguing small retailers should band together wherever possible in their marketing efforts.
“Small businesses tend to insulate and isolate instead of working together. Local councils can often assist with marketing businesses as a group, so talk to people [from the council] who have that role,” she says.
“Also, ask yourself: have you got a customer loyalty program? Do you use event marketing? Do you send out a newsletter? Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming.”
Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the Australian Retailers Association, believes there will always be a place for traditional retailers due to destination shopping.
Destination shopping refers to when customers plan a trip to a retail centre in order to spend time there for leisure in addition to purchasing goods.
“For example, shoe shops and clothing stores will always attract mothers and daughters who enjoy shopping together. Similarly, families often view shopping as an outing,” Zimmerman says.
National Retailers Association spokesperson Michael Lonie says flagship stores are particularly popular for destination shopping, namely for their high-end offerings and impressive shop fronts.
He says small retailers can imitate their larger competitors by regularly changing their displays, ordering items upon request, inviting customers to preview new stock, and offering them a glass of champagne or a coffee.
Meanwhile, a property report by CB Richard Ellis shows Melbourne’s Acland and Chapel streets have topped a list of the most sought-after and resilient shopping streets in the city.
Acland Street, located in the bayside suburb of St Kilda, was the best performer, with no vacancies in the strip during the second half of 2010. St Kilda is home to a host of specialty food and beverage retailers.
The fashion hub of Chapel Street in South Yarra was another strong performer, with vacancy rates falling 1.2% to just under 2%.
CBRE says while the outlook for inner-city retail is healthy, shopping precincts in outer suburbs will only experience lukewarm growth as interest rates tend to have a greater impact in these areas.