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How goes the DFO/Brand Depot War?

By Anna Key - 8 August 2009 34

I took a trip to DFO yesterday.  It seemed surprisingly busy, at least compared to previous visits.  However, there are a large number of the big shops still empty. (As an aside, could these be used to house Canberra’s homeless?) And I know a bored look on a teenage girl isn’t unusual, but some of them didn’t look like they’ve had an exciting day. I didn’t venture to Brand Depot, although we like to visit every so often and try to remember what store used to occupy a now empty shop.

There was an interesting article in the CT at the start of the year about DFO and Brand Depot, or should that be an article about the lack of interest in DFO and Brand Depot. Given the ongoing GFC, does anyone know how things are going at either?

Also interesting the story in RA on the upcoming Brand Depot opening and potential traffic problems. At least they got that bit right, although I doubt it has anything to do with BD.

What’s Your opinion?


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34 Responses to
How goes the DFO/Brand Depot War?
peterh 12:26 am 09 Aug 09

brand depot have a vip club for parents. there are events that are on prior to normal opening time, and these events are absolutely packed. and the cost to a parent? the cost of petrol, and maybe a coffee. dfo to my knowledge don’t have any thing close. and the only facility at dfo is the paid kids area, at least brand depot have a free one in the food area, and a view of the runway for little ones who love planes…

Anna Key 11:13 pm 08 Aug 09

I thought these places would be significantly cheaper than the malls, and that’s the point of them. But this certainly doesn’t seem to be the case eg JB HiFi in DFO have the same prices as Woden. Clothing seems the same. BD does seem to have some bargains, possibly due to a closing down sale.

I guess we should look forward to the Brand Depot Insurance Fire

WanniAss 9:58 pm 08 Aug 09

Never made the connection with the potential for BD to be gutted and used as a transport hub. I guess the close proximity to the taxiways would make it a fairly cheap conversion, especially with the large expanse of available parking. Incidentally, is anyone occupying the office buildings next to BD? I notice cars parked there and a child care centre but they look fairly empty.

Felix the Cat 9:00 pm 08 Aug 09

I too went for another (second time) look at both BD and DFO last weekend. I wasn’t really in the market for anything, just curious as to how they were going. I didn’t bother going to Trade Secrets or Toys R Us, but the rest of BD was very quiet. Heaps of empty shops and usually lucky to be one or two customers in most shops, most of them only seeming to be browsing, not buying.

I then went out to DFO. Much busier. Took me 15 mins to get into the carpark and park the car and hike to the nearest (not very clearly signposted) entrance. Easily two or three times the number of shoppers there in comparison to BD and most people seemed to be carrying bags with the names of the retailers on them as an indication that they were actually buying stuff (unlike BD). Similar layout to BD, similar shops. How do those ‘discount’ persian rug places stay open and viable? Rays Outdoors seemed to be one of the more popular shops as was Pauls the sportswear shop. Lots of empty shops here as well but they seemed to be in clusters rather than random empty shops like BD.

The BD at Airport is too far out of the way for most people (except maybe Bridabella Park workers) to bother shopping there. DFO I feel is a little more central plus there are other shops in Fyshwick to go to while you are there if DFO doesn’t have what you’re after. I wouldn’t lose a moments sleep if they both closed down tomorrow.

bd84 7:10 pm 08 Aug 09

I can’t say I make the effort to go all the way out to either of them. I’ve been to both twice, well after they opene, mostly to confirm that there wasn’t anything special there.

I confirmed my theory that 90% of the shops can be found at the other 4/5 major shopping centres in Canberra and that the “discount shopping” translates into exactly the same price as their other stores, except for the usual crap they can’t sell which they’re flogging.

dusty 5:45 pm 08 Aug 09

Has anyone else felt the floor shake at DFO?
It happens all the time according to the guy in the jeans shop.
Whats it built out of? Lego?
It’ll probably fall down one day
At least DFO is built on the ground.

JC 5:11 pm 08 Aug 09

dvaey said :

I also have to wonder, if the Canberra Airport is looking for massive expansion to an international-class terminal, wouldnt it make sense to put the shopping facilities close to the airport? If I travel through Melbourne or Sydney, I fill in time at the airport by looking at the shops, in Canberra the airport ‘shopping mall’ is on the other side of the airfield.

That is not the market they are after. They want people who can drive there from around Canberra. They only built it because they missed out on the land where DFO is so built their own using a loophole in the airport legislation that allowed them to do it without planning approval.

bugmenot 4:12 pm 08 Aug 09

dvaey said :

I also have to wonder, if the Canberra Airport is looking for massive expansion to an international-class terminal, wouldnt it make sense to put the shopping facilities close to the airport?

Not when your name is Mr Snow and you always had a plan of converting it into a freight hub.

Brand Depot only came about because there were delays in getting the DFO approved/finalised. Snow jumped in a grabbed as many unsigned (to DFO) businesses into Brand Depot, beating them to the punchline. Eventually closing it down is all part of the greater plan.

The building that BD is in apparently has a floor loading and dimensions suitable for a 747 to park in. Who didn’t see that one coming?

emd 2:21 pm 08 Aug 09

I vary between avoiding both places like the plague, and appreciating their presence.
Most of the time I don’t want to drive to an area well out of my way, to shop at a mall that has the same chain stores as the mall nearer home. I’m not a very good consumer, so when I shop it’s for a specific item, and stuff in clearance centres is rarely the version I want.

But occasionally it’s good to go shopping in a totally dead mall. No being trampled by crowds, easy to steer the kids through, easy to get a carpark.

I say bulldoze one of them to make way for an IKEA. Now there’s a place I could happily spend a day shopping. Might even turn me into a good consumer.

GardeningGirl 1:27 pm 08 Aug 09

dvaey said :

The prices arent even that good either. Sure, if you want to buy something with a logo on it, you might save 10% but if you bought the same item of clothing without the high-priced logo, youd probably get better quality clothes for a significantly lower price.

That’s my thinking too.

The homemaker hub is half empty and it’s sad to see a couple of stores that had their own distinctive buildings squeezed into shopfronts virtually alongside cheap clothing stores. Completely changes the experience, and the perception of the store.

dvaey 12:22 pm 08 Aug 09

As I live in Tuggeranong, Ive always wondered what the point is, to spending $10 in fuel to drive out to Brand Depot, in order to save $5 on something that you only really bought to justify the trip all the way out there and not come back empty handed.

I also have to wonder, if the Canberra Airport is looking for massive expansion to an international-class terminal, wouldnt it make sense to put the shopping facilities close to the airport? If I travel through Melbourne or Sydney, I fill in time at the airport by looking at the shops, in Canberra the airport ‘shopping mall’ is on the other side of the airfield.

On the actual shopping area, I find the layout really annoying, and think they should turn one of those unused shops into a shortcut through the guts of the building. Having to walk from one end to the other to use the toilet, or walk a full lap to find something to eat or an ATM seems to go against the ease-of-shopping theyre trying to encourage.

The prices arent even that good either. Sure, if you want to buy something with a logo on it, you might save 10% but if you bought the same item of clothing without the high-priced logo, youd probably get better quality clothes for a significantly lower price.

I heard ‘Trade Secret’ talked up by some friends, so we ventured back out there, however in Trade Secret we couldnt even find anything worth buying to even justify the trip, at least in Brand Depot you can get a feed.

grunge_hippy 12:12 pm 08 Aug 09

brand depot is woeful. every time i go there, its dead. I’ve never liked it. no shops there that interest me whatsoever.

DFO on the other hand is always much busier. I usually only go out to for the rivers store to buy shoes. I wouldnt buy clothes at either, mainly because i am not a pubescent girl/guy who likes to dress like a skank/homeboy.

brand depot is good for toys r us/babies r us only. we bought the pending arrival a bassinet there last weekend which was $40 cheaper than the same one at fyshwick. we had lunch while we were there and it had to be the WORST subway EVER! one thing that I did note that was a positive, when i spilt a drink (couldn’t even blame it on the toddler, it was my own damn fault!) the cleaning crew where there in a flash.

I would chose DFO over brand depot any day. trade secret is nothing to get excited over either. maybe i am too fussy!

OYM 11:32 am 08 Aug 09

The nice thing about Brand Depot is that because all the shops seem to be on the wind down, you can score some bargains. The ironic thing is that the rug place hasn’t gone out of business yet. Surely Brand Depot can’t hang on for much longer?

Hells_Bells74 11:24 am 08 Aug 09

Love the addition of Trade Secret to the area of Brand Depot. Spent lots there at tax time.

Didn’t like DFO when it first opened and haven’t been back but I’m sure I will try again one day soon now it’s settled in. But it was just more of the same I thought!

Wander out to Brand Depot on the odd occasion, never find too much to buy though (although if I had a bigger year round budget I might buy some bigger/dearer items).

Nemo 11:05 am 08 Aug 09

We wandered out to Brand Depot recently. I had very low expectations, but was pleasantly surprised. They had quite a few new shops and there were more people there than I had expected.

I’ve been out to DFO quite a few times – the big empty shops are only there because they opened up the new homemaker hub – it will fill up in time.

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