SYDNEY Westfield
Sydney Westfield new store opening. Source: Westfield
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  • Sydney shopping centres have shown a 61 per cent foot traffic increase while neighbourhood locations increased by 66 per cent, in comparson to pre-pandemic levels
  • According to the study conducted by Pathzz and CBRE real estate, rentals declined and vacancies rose during the pandemic
  • CBRE research analyst James Boseley said increased foot traffic in 50 observed shopping centres were side effects of the lockdowns between December 2020 and May 2021
  • At the end of Sydney’s lockdown, the city saw a resurgence in shopping centre foot traffic, with activity measured at 80 to 90 per cent for neighbourhood and regional centres

Over the past 24 months, the retail business in Australia’s CBDs has seen a tightening of purse strings, but there has been some resilience in the retail sector, with shopping centres maintaining their ground.

Sydney shopping centres have shown a 61 per cent foot traffic increase, while neighbourhood locations increased by 66 per cent when compared to pre-pandemic levels.

According to the study conducted by Pathzz and CBRE real estate, city centres saw large rental declines and a rise in vacancies during the pandemic, but the retail sector did not face the brunt of the pandemic.

CBRE research analyst James Boseley explained increased foot traffic in the 50 observed shopping centres in Sydney were a side effect of lockdowns between December 2020 and May 2021.

“Large format retail centres focused on homewares and electricals have proven to be the winners in retail during the past 24 months, as Australians were inclined to improve their home environments,” Mr Boseley said.

“In between times of lockdown and eased restrictions, consumers were either one-time bulk buying, between bouts of no visits, or splurging on shopping sprees as a form of ‘revenge shopping’, celebrating their release from home confinements”.

In addition, the research noted decreased visitation from people aged between 25 and 34, as online shopping became more widely adopted.

At the end of Sydney’s lockdown, the city saw a resurgence in shopping centre foot traffic, with activity measured at 80 to 90 per cent for neighbourhood and regional centres.

While shopping centres have remained resilient, they, too, are having to reconsider their leasing plans, owing principally to the fact that the fashion industry has been struck the hardest, with many quitting or adjusting their lease choices.

According to the research, this has resulted in certain retail centres with bigger format spaces seeking to explore new occupier prospects.

The research also took into account the change in the traditional shopping environment- where retail spaces started engaging customers with more interactive activities.

The examples given include Rebel Sport’s featuring virtual games, advances from athletes on shoes and basketball shooting.

KitKat also incorporated this model to create the ‘Create your Break’ concept, which allows for customers to create their own flavours.

Larger centres also incentives customers with vouchers, competitions and special deals, including but not limited to TGIF (Thank God it’s Friday) vouchers for certain precincts.

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