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If at first you don’t succeed…

By 28 June 2011 50

So having failed to excite Canberra shoppers with the factory outlet experiment that was Brand Depot, Canberra Airport is announcing the April 2012 arrival of the Majura Park Shopping Centre, featuring Canberra’s biggest Woolies, a Big W, and a Dick Smith.

I guess the recent addition of a Woolworths petrol station at Majura Park should have been a bit of a hint as to what was to be made of the Brand Depot building, but really, another Woolworths? And a Big W? Are people actually going to travel out to Majura Park for this stuff, or is Woolies just counting on picking up enough custom from the people who travel out to Costco without realising they need to spend $60 to join Costco before they will even be allowed in the door?

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50 Responses to If at first you don’t succeed…
#1
harvyk110:28 am, 28 Jun 11

Seriously, you couldn’t make this sh*t up…
For most of Canberra, to get out there you’d drive past multiple woolies, and at least one Big W. You may even go past a tricky dickies as well… Let alone if you had to bus it…

#2
arescarti4210:32 am, 28 Jun 11

The Woolworths might succeed based on the thousands of people that travel along Majura road every day, you know, people picking up shopping after work and such.

The Big W and Dick Smith seem like weird choices, they don’t strike me as “pick up a new TV on the way home from work” type purchases, and most people would probably be closer to the Big W and Dick Smith in Gungahlin/Belconnen/City than the airport.

#3
neanderthalsis10:45 am, 28 Jun 11

Turning it into a “woolworths precinct” will pave the way for one of their “Oxygen” stores (like Lowes in the USA, a Bunnings on steroids) when they get off the ground. That would set the place up as being more of a homemaker type centre rather than your average suburban shopping centre.

#4
JessP10:49 am, 28 Jun 11

ANother Big W. How exciting.

#5
Sammy10:50 am, 28 Jun 11

Apparently you guys all think you’re better at retail planning than Woolworths Limited. Interesting.

If you want to read about the issues that Woolworths Limited have with planning, zoning and development assessments, and why many of these issues might be mitigated at somewhere like Majura Park, then take a look at the Woolworths Limited submission to the Productivity Commission in September 2010.

#6
harvyk110:54 am, 28 Jun 11

arescarti42 said :

The Woolworths might succeed based on the thousands of people that travel along Majura road every day, you know, people picking up shopping after work and such.

Copying Supabarns success???

#7
johnboy10:55 am, 28 Jun 11

The interesting thing here is that multiple major retailers are assuming that being close to a freight hub is more important than being close to where the customers are.

#8
Classified11:05 am, 28 Jun 11

johnboy said :

The interesting thing here is that multiple major retailers are assuming that being close to a freight hub is more important than being close to where the customers are.

Perhaps the idea is that having the shop closer to the freight hub can mean lower prices, which people will go out of their way to take advantage of. It’s not necessarily an idea I would think successful in Canberra, though.

#9
majorLazer11:34 am, 28 Jun 11

I think people are forgetting the fact that The closest woolies to the entire Manuka area is Woden, and while there is a Coles right there, I prefer to shop for groceries and other stuff at the same time meaning I have to go to Woden.
With the Woolies opening about 5-6Km from my house, and being able to go to Toys’R'Us at the same time is a dream come true

#10
dungfungus11:37 am, 28 Jun 11

johnboy said :

The interesting thing here is that multiple major retailers are assuming that being close to a freight hub is more important than being close to where the customers are.

And what freight hub would that be johnboy?
The Canberra International Airport only deals in passengers and parcels. Try “air freighting” something bulky through Australian Air Express and see how far you get. Canberra does not have enough commerce to support establishment of an air freight facility and the idea of a 24 hour national freight hub to service Sydney is just plain ludicrous.

#11
Mysteryman11:42 am, 28 Jun 11

There is one reason I go out to the airport precinct: to get on a plane, or pick someone up.

I don’t go there to shop. Ever. It’s completely out of the way. Maybe Woolworths knows something about Canberra shopping habits that I don’t, but I don’t know anyone who’ll shop for groceries out there.

#12
qbngeek12:16 pm, 28 Jun 11

johnboy said :

The interesting thing here is that multiple major retailers are assuming that being close to a freight hub is more important than being close to where the customers are.

Ummm there is no frieght hub. I had to get several big air frieght containers shipped to Sydney then trucked to me becuase AAE and everyone else just looked at me blankly when I asked if it could be flown to Canberra and unloaded there where I would arrange to pick them up and move it to my house.

Lord Snow is on crack if he thinks that Canberra Not Really All That International Airport is a freight hub. The only waty to get frieght into Canberra is via road or rail (and rail is painful as well)

#13
dvaey12:19 pm, 28 Jun 11

Sammy said :

Apparently you guys all think you’re better at retail planning than Woolworths Limited. Interesting.

Well, better than the folks who created and marketed Brand Depot anyway.

Sammy said :

If you want to read about the issues that Woolworths Limited have with planning, zoning and development assessments, and why many of these issues might be mitigated at somewhere like Majura Park…

Maybe their planning/zoning/development issues can be solved by placing a store in the middle of nowhere.. it doesnt solve the fact that people obviously arent going out to that area to do their shopping, no matter how much woolworths would like to think it will.. Maybe Woolworths should have spoken to the vendors who have all gone out of business in the area in recent history if they dont believe the customers here on RiotACT.

#14
p112:19 pm, 28 Jun 11

dungfungus said :

And what freight hub would that be johnboy?

I think that would be the freight hub snowco are slowly creating. Put all those big shops together and you almost have a freight hub already, simply with the amount of trucks rolling in to keep them all stocked.

#15
Erg012:34 pm, 28 Jun 11

majorLazer said :

I think people are forgetting the fact that The closest woolies to the entire Manuka area is Woden, and while there is a Coles right there, I prefer to shop for groceries and other stuff at the same time meaning I have to go to Woden.
With the Woolies opening about 5-6Km from my house, and being able to go to Toys’R'Us at the same time is a dream come true

Unless you’re a crow, Woden is still most likely closer, quicker, and easier to get to from Manuka.

#16
dpm1:14 pm, 28 Jun 11

dungfungus said :

johnboy said :

The interesting thing here is that multiple major retailers are assuming that being close to a freight hub is more important than being close to where the customers are.

And what freight hub would that be johnboy?
The Canberra International Airport only deals in passengers and parcels. Try “air freighting” something bulky through Australian Air Express and see how far you get. Canberra does not have enough commerce to support establishment of an air freight facility and the idea of a 24 hour national freight hub to service Sydney is just plain ludicrous.

I think by Freight Hub, they mean it is close to the highway from Sydney, so all the trucks (filling our highways) can get freight there quicker! ;-)

#17
dungfungus1:47 pm, 28 Jun 11

dpm said :

dungfungus said :

johnboy said :

The interesting thing here is that multiple major retailers are assuming that being close to a freight hub is more important than being close to where the customers are.

And what freight hub would that be johnboy?
The Canberra International Airport only deals in passengers and parcels. Try “air freighting” something bulky through Australian Air Express and see how far you get. Canberra does not have enough commerce to support establishment of an air freight facility and the idea of a 24 hour national freight hub to service Sydney is just plain ludicrous.

I think by Freight Hub, they mean it is close to the highway from Sydney, so all the trucks (filling our highways) can get freight there quicker! ;-)

The biggest problem in creating a freight hub in Canberra is that it is not economical to bring in shipping containers or bulk air freight reason being is that Canberra is deemed a Rural Destination by AQIS so all international inbound air freight will have to be inspected by AQIS. This infrastructure doesn’t exist at Canberra airport. Shipping containers to be delivered to rural destinations have to be inspected and usually steamed cleaned at the port they arrive at. This is very expensive and time wasting. This doesn’t happen if their end destination is in a metropolitan area (non-rural). They can even travel road from Sydney to Melbourne via Canberra but the rural bit doesn’t apply. Typical government logic.
The curfew at Sydney Airport will be lifted soon and it will operate 24/7 or it won’t remain viable so the Canberra freight hub concept will forgotten about.

#18
Angelina1:56 pm, 28 Jun 11

Maybe Woolworths figures they might get some sort of flow-on effect from customers who will go out there for other things. For example, if someone’s out there shopping at Costco, or Jim Murphy’s or the biggest chemist in the southern hemisphere then maybe they’re quite likely to stop by the woolworths for their weekend grocery shop while they’re there. And once they’re in the woolworths theres a very good chance they’ll go into the Big W or Dicks too. A lot of families are quite time poor and might see it as a good way to knock over a few weekend jobs without having to move their car. Although I suppose thats what shopping centres are about…

Whatever the reason is I find it hard to believe woolies would have done this if there wasn’t a bloody good chance of it working. They’re pretty savvy with these kinds of things. “If you build it, he will come” perhaps?

However I do keep having these flashbacks to that south park episode where they build the walmart and everyone is shopping for crap they don’t need in the middle of the night. Randy Marsh pressing his naked chest against the window in the direction of the store…good times!

#19
harvyk12:31 pm, 28 Jun 11

Angelina said :

Whatever the reason is I find it hard to believe woolies would have done this if there wasn’t a bloody good chance of it working. They’re pretty savvy with these kinds of things. “If you build it, he will come” perhaps?

I wouldn’t say that they are savvy with these kind of things… I think it’s more a case of making sure the competition doesn’t get a foot hold… Obviously one supermarket chain thought it was a good idea to set up shop out there, whilst that didn’t work, Supabarn doesn’t have the financial might behind them, thus they need every store to support itself.

On the other hand I suspect Woolies would not be opposed to placing a store somewhere just to make sure Coles can’t. It has the money to basically subsidise the store for a very long time provided it was stopping people from going to Coles.

Just my 2.2c

#20
MissChief2:41 pm, 28 Jun 11

I think it’s doomed to fail. I, like many others, wont be bothering to go there when there’s plenty of more convenient places to shop at those stores.

If, however, they put something different out there that isn’t anywhere else, well then…

IKEA could have been a good choice. So many people I know love that store and travel all the way to Sydney just to shop there.

#21
thatsnotme2:50 pm, 28 Jun 11

I already have a local shopping precinct – it’s called Belconnen Mall, and it’s a whole lot easier to get to than the airport! It also has a Woolies and Dick Smith, although no Big W… On the other hand, it does have a K-Mart, Target, Myer, Coles, Aldi, Dan Murphy’s, and just a few other shops.

Is Costco really expected to be popular enough that it will pull enough punters to support other businesses out there?

#22
Watson3:45 pm, 28 Jun 11

Maybe it would work in bigger cities where there may be a larger group of people who are willing and able to spend heaps of time finding out where they can buy the cheapest toilet paper or dandruff shampoo and travel all around town to knock a few dollars off their grocery bill. But most of the Canberra population is more concerned with convenience. We’ll go to Aldi if it’s on the way, but at the same time lots of us are still willing to pay higher prices for basic products at the local IGA because it’s easy.

So why on earth would we drive out to the airport for groceries?

#23
qbngeek3:55 pm, 28 Jun 11

I have already sorted my Costco Membership and my intention is to stop there on the way home from the farmers markets on a Saturday. It is not out of the way at all since I am driving in that area anyway and after my trip to Costco in Melbourne it looks like I will be saving more than a few bucks on my groceries.

Won’t go to Woolies however, if I can’t get it at the farmers markets or Costco I will continue to get it from IGA like I currently do. Costco will just be my replacement for Aldi.

#24
dvaey4:14 pm, 28 Jun 11

qbngeek said :

I have already sorted my Costco Membership and my intention is to stop there on the way home from the farmers markets on a Saturday.

You might want to wait until theyre open.. you shouldve waited for that before you shelled out for membership, although at least you can still use your membership in Melbourne.

#25
knuckles4:35 pm, 28 Jun 11

Mysteryman said :

There is one reason I go out to the airport precinct: to get on a plane, or pick someone up

That’s two reasons :)

#26
p14:41 pm, 28 Jun 11

MissChief said :

If, however, they put something different out there that isn’t anywhere else, well then…

I reckon that the Bland Depot building would have made an awesome gokart venue.

#27
Ryoma5:02 pm, 28 Jun 11

I think that there is probably more to this than meets the eye on several fronts.

Whether or not Canberra becomes an international airport, there is nothing to stop an AQIS branch being set up there in future if both the government and the airport are serious about becoming a freight hub. Perhaps there is some sort of deal that includes an upgrade of Majura Avenue, etc, going on behind closed doors.

A bigger thing which makes me laugh is how the big firms in many of our industries are building in more and more marginal locations (marginal in both the geographic and financial sense). I’m sure the idea of building there simply so that the competition cannot is part of it, but has it ever crossed their minds that perhaps there is a limit on how much stuff we (either as Canberrans, or more broadly as Australians) can;

a) eat or drink in a given timeframe?
b) watch or play with in a given timeframe?
c) fill our houses with?

More than this, what happens when on-line shopping really takes off across a broader range of industries? You can now buy fridges and other large stuff on-line, and as Gerry Harvey and others have kindly informed everyone of, many other things are cheaper on-line, in part thanks to the strong $A.

Then there is the demographic shift. Harry Dent (Google him) says that peak spending in developed countries hits when the population’s average age is around 46. At this time, according to him, many people have teenagers needing all sorts of goods, they are still paying off a mortgage, trying to put more into super, they may be renovating, and so on,and so on. This may also near the peak earning age as well.

But Mr Dent states that not long afterwards, people’s spend starts to both fall overall, and to change direction. Less on goods, and more on holidays cruises, health care, and so on.

So, what happens to all of these giant shopping centres when the generation to come is;
a) smaller than the one before it, and
b) more indebted and with less assets than the one before it?

Where do retailers think that growth is coming to come from at that point in time?

#28
Ryoma5:03 pm, 28 Jun 11

Here are the figures for average ages of various countries;

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2177.html

#29
rosscoact5:11 pm, 28 Jun 11

Ryoma said :

So, what happens to all of these giant shopping centres when the generation to come is;
a) smaller than the one before it, and
b) more indebted and with less assets than the one before it?

Where do retailers think that growth is coming to come from at that point in time?

I’m thinking that woolies is more concerned with their share price tomorrow than generational shift. They pay off the establishment of teh supermarket in a very short timeframe. It’s the airport that’s making the capital investment and they only care about developing every spare square metre of ground.

#30
pete095:15 pm, 28 Jun 11

When the Majura freeway opens up, the entire bottleneck around Majura Park will be by-passed won’t it? There goes the convenience factor.

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