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News & Media

WHERE IS HIGH STREET RETAIL HEADED IN SYDNEY???

Most of you have observed the vacant shops in your local shopping centres and wondered why is it so?

Properties which have always been occupied by the local butcher, greengrocer, fish shop, chemist shop, gift store, clothing shop, etc.. are now occupied by hairdressers, nail shops, 7 eleven , charity stores or cafes.

I believe that the reasons are manifold but mainly due to:

  • Increased motor traffic and parking difficulties have made these unpleasant & unattractive places to frequent.
  • Our shopping habits have changed as we can get most of these things at the supermarket which usually has adjacent parking facilities.
  • There is a decreased value on buying local & supporting our local people with whom we used to have friendly relationships.
  • The rapid development of on-line shopping due to convenience and pricing.

So where to from here?

As we have seen in many instances, these shops which often were individually owned have been amalgamated to form development sites for the erection of medium to high rise home unit buildings. On account of their zonings, Councils usually insist on the re-instatement of retail units on the ground levels, which invariably prove still difficult to lease, whilst the home units are readily swallowed up by the market.

In other instances, the local areas have evolved into a new niche of service providers such as “Eat Streets” or “boutique shopping”. Happy days for the owners of these properties!

As it is unlikely that the traffic authorities or local Councils will ever be able to address the traffic issues which in many instances have led to the demise of the traditional high street, I fear that it will disappear in time, as we continue to become an ever increasing herd of mall shoppers. We shall see!

By Gregory May

 

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