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Canberra retail?

By johnboy - 15 December 2008 62

The Canberra Times has a bit on the weakness in Canberra’s retail sector.

Who would have thought that opening vast acreages of shopping space could have consequences?

Who could have predicted that there wasn’t actually unlimited numbers of consumers in Canberra just waiting for sufficiently salubrious retail opportunities in which to splurge?

Pretty much anyone with a brain actually.

Having said that. Canberra Centre on Saturday, madness eh? It certainly felt like a limitless pool of slack-jawed yokels milling aimlessly in every choke point.

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62 Responses to
Canberra retail?
Jonathon Reynolds 11:50 am 15 Dec 08

I was in the Belconnen Mall briefly on Friday night… I was surprised how busy it wasn’t.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the “Christmas pennies from Kevin” will be going toward reducing debt rather than bolstering the retail economy.

tylersmayhem 11:49 am 15 Dec 08

I believe the problem at a very high level is that we’ve been blindly spending like morons for years, with no consequence – and fooling ourselves that there never would be a consequence. Well it’s here now.

As consumers, we’ve accepted prices with continue to inflate, so up they keep going. Here we are paying up to 5 or 6 dollars for something made out of flour, water and maybe a bit of mixed grain.

We are the creator of this mess as consumers. We’re heading into a time of if you still have some disposable cash laying around, enjoy the the bargains. If you’re in debt up to your eyeballs you’ll need as much luck as you can get.

Thumper 11:39 am 15 Dec 08

I went out to Kingston markets on Sunday. Bloody hippies, milling around with their $1,000 😉

nah, the markets were in fact very good. Belconnen mall later that afternoon however….

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_ 11:38 am 15 Dec 08

Retail is one of those areas that always seems to do well during the good times, but suffer badly during the downturns. Australia is coming off a really strong decade (economically speaking), and so it’s only natural that retail is going to see some hard times.

Of course, that doesn’t make it any easier for those whose lives will be impacted.

peterh 11:33 am 15 Dec 08

retailers who have the ability to run crazy discounts on stock will still attract the punters. There will be less spending though, as people are trying to sock some cash away for next year.

I know I am. I am not a high income earner. I am grateful for any money i get, as well as the bonus from the govt. It is sitting (happily for me) in the bank.

Mr_Shab 11:32 am 15 Dec 08

Chrispy – how about the existing retailer? The one that set up shop 8-10 years ago with a sound, conservative business model who was making a reasonable profit until the rug was pulled out from under them by the grotesquely outsized redevelopment of the Canberra Centre? What about them? Were they imprudent?

A lot of them can’t simply close the doors and start again – they’re in their 50’s and 60’s. Thier shop was their superannuation.

It’s not all folly. There are faces and names.

jakez 11:12 am 15 Dec 08

Mr_Shab said :

The one saving grace of the economic downturn for the retail sector is that it might put the brakes on the redevelopment of Belco Mall into another Canberra Centre-esque monstrosity.

Yeah why have choice and access when you can have….well I guess it has a Toys R’ Us. I may be 25 but goddamn that store is still magical.

Mr_Shab 11:06 am 15 Dec 08

What about the folks already shopping at the lower end emd? They’re dropping off because they’re no longer quite so keen to max out their credit cards (shovel enough cheap money at a poor guy and he’ll think he’s rich). Your net result is less dosh in at the lower end too (there are a lot more people at the lower end curtailing their spending than “sliding” from the top end).

It’s not going to “balance out” in the end. It’s going to be ugly – only the most resilient retailers are going to stay standing.

As background – my friends in the local retail sector say that people are spending; just less than last year and they’re buying smaller things. If you look in the shops, you’ll see that the decorations and stuff on offer is a whole lot less extravagant than in more recent memory.

We have such an excess of retail in this town because it’s a quick way for the Govt. to get some developer’s cash in the coffers; and a development minister willing to bend over backwards to accomodate every shonky proposal from QIC.

The one saving grace of the economic downturn for the retail sector is that it might put the brakes on the redevelopment of Belco Mall into another Canberra Centre-esque monstrosity.

AG Canberra 11:00 am 15 Dec 08

DFO was busy on Sat AM….and I shudder to think how many people weren’t at Brand Depot.

I reckon DFO will be looking forward to tighter times – more people will consider buying “seconds” when times are tougher.

Having said that if I had got one of Kevvie’s bonuses I would have shopped up a storm at the new BCFs and Ray’s….

chrispy 10:58 am 15 Dec 08

Someone built a shopping centre somewhere so I was forced to open a shop there and hire people at below award wages. Then I was forced to sell the exact same thing as the shop next door at an inflated price even though it was imported from china at bugger all per container load. Market research and innovation is for commoners, not for executive thinkers like me. I might have to close soon unless the government lets me get cheaper workers from overseas because there are no workers with the skills I need, willing to work for the money I want to pay them.

jakez 10:57 am 15 Dec 08

The consequences of too many retail stores is that those who have made a malinvestment will lose money. I don’t like it when a business fails but until somebody can solve that pesky ‘scarce resources’ thing, creative destruction will be the driving force of our advancement.

Footloose said :

Canberra has a terrible retail sector because the Overlords of Retail have looked at some demographic figures and decided that we’re all robots with no taste, thus we can have 100 stores all selling the same crap just at varied prices.
It’s no surprise that most of us with style, taste and money all save our pennies to shop in Sydney, Melbourne or online.

The overlords of retail in Canberra would love for those businesses to come to Canberra. The overlords of retail that are the places you think have style, think Canberra is not a viable market at this stage. I don’t know who is right, you or them.

emd 10:40 am 15 Dec 08

I don’t think all retail can be lumped together so easily.
I think that some areas, like high-end clothing labels, will find that sales fall dramatically if interest rates rise. But other areas, like brands at the lower end, or second-hand sellers, will find their sales rise because they’re picking up customers who can no longer justify shopping at the more expensive end of the scale.

MadScotty 10:25 am 15 Dec 08

The yokels were all standing around gawking cause they could not figure out what to spend the free $1000 Rudd had thrown at them on.
It was the same on Sunday at Woden. Big W was wall to wall with people who were spending like mad on crap they didn’t need with the kids all getting some nice new toys.

Footloose 9:48 am 15 Dec 08

Canberra has a terrible retail sector because the Overlords of Retail have looked at some demographic figures and decided that we’re all robots with no taste, thus we can have 100 stores all selling the same crap just at varied prices.
It’s no surprise that most of us with style, taste and money all save our pennies to shop in Sydney, Melbourne or online.

poptop 9:31 am 15 Dec 08

Xmas Mall Rage has started in earnest all over.

People my not be spending, but they are certainly turning up in droves and milling around endlessly.

If I have a job, a credit card and a commitment to spend, shouldn’t I be getting preferential treatment?

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