Vacancy in Melbourne’s top retail strips down 25 percent: Savills

Vacancy in Melbourne’s top retail strips down 25 percent: Savills
Vacancy in Melbourne’s top retail strips down 25 percent: Savills

Vacancy across Melbourne’s 10 key retail strips has fallen by a quarter over the last four years, driven largely by strong population growth in the city's inner suburbs, according to the latest Savills research.

The research found that overall vacancy rate had fallen to 7 percent from 9.5 percent over the four years from May 2012 with 184 shops now vacant, down from 253.

Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn and Church Street, Brighton were the top performers with vacancy rates of 2.1 and 2.3 percent respectively, while Bridge Road trailed the field at 13.6 percent. 

Savills Victorian research manager, Monica Mondkar, said while vacancy in some strips remained high, the most vibrant retail and entertainment precincts outside of the CBD were doing well and could look forward to continued growth as Melbourne’s inner suburbs recorded double digit population growth.

"Some strips, such as Bridge Road, have struggled in recent years but that has been more to do with tenancy mix and a lack of local government initiatives," she said.

"Retailers in the most popular strips, such as Chapel Street, South Yarra and Toorak Road, Toorak, can generally now look forward to tighter vacancy with stronger fundamentals underpinned by the massive influx of residents to new apartment developments.

"Retailers left behind will be those in strips where the mix of retailers has failed to attract consumers and where they lack effective local government support.’’ 

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Vacancy in Melbourne’s top retail strips down 25 percent: Savills

Of the 2,620 shops surveyed, the Cafes, Restaurants & Takeaway Food Services category had seen the largest increase of 20 percent to 581 shops, Services was up 12 percent to 612 shops, while Clothing, Footwear & Accessories fell 15 percent to 663 stores.

Notable leases included those of national fashion retailers, Peter Sheppard at 626 Burke Rd, Camberwell, Bendon at 143-151 Bridge Rd, Richmond, Mimco at 87 Church St, Brighton, Flannel at 40b Church St, Brighton, and Trenery at 1015 High St Armadale, while international brands, Canadian cosmetic retailer As Colour opened a store at 230 Chapel St, Prahran, and Nike leased space at 71-73 Church St, Brighton.

ABS retail trade (seasonally adjusted) indicates that Victorian retail trade grew by 5.2 per cent in the 12 months to March, above the national average growth of 4.1 per cent, while consumer confidence, buoyed by low interest rates, measured 103.2 points in May, up from 102.4 points a year ago.  

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Vacancy in Melbourne’s top retail strips down 25 percent: Savills 

Savills Victorian director-Retail Services, Michael Di Carlo, said the increase of 186 new stores in food and beverages and services retailing correlated with the dramatic growth in the number of apartments.

"Population growth has been the key to the growth in these sectors, and these are the sectors which cater for the most immediate needs of local residents. The decrease in fashion related stores, on the other hand, may be about the competition from national and international brands along with a preference for that type of shopping elsewhere including the CBD or the larger enclosed centres," Di Carlo said.     

He said yields and rents varied widely according to the particular attributes of the strip.

"Strip retail, especially suburban strip retail has long been a favourite of the small investor and in recent years that focus has intensified with the emergence of the SMSF and of course record low interest rates.

"Yields have always been tight in these markets but those factors have seen even further downward pressure to the point where yields around 3.5 to 4.5 per cent are now much more common,’’ Di Carlo said.

"Rents can vary dramatically between precincts and indeed, in some cases, within precincts  They are very much about the location, the position within the location and current and historic vacancy levels.’’

He said rents for strips shops in the best strip locations generally ranged between $800 and $1200 a square metre.    

 

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Melbourne Retail News

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