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Three Keys to Rethinking Retail (3/3): Location and Localism

local shopping village

With a groundbreaking combination of experiential innovation, cultural cachet and world-class tenant representation (if we say so ourselves), Culture Kings’ massively successful first international store opening in Sylvia Park showed us that brick-and-mortar retail isnt dead — just different. For retailers to thrive in a post-COVID world, there are three key adjectives to consider: omnichannelexperiential, and local. 

We think each of these deserves an in-depth exploration, so we’ve tackled one each week in this three-part blog series. Read Part 1 or Part 2 if you missed them! 

‘Localism’ and why location is key 

It’s no secret that CBDs in Australia and around the world have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. But this spending has not evaporated – it’s just shifted to the suburbs. The resurgence of local shopping villages and high streets has been driven by a confluence of lockdown restrictions, working from home, and increased support for smaller community businesses. These ‘third spaces’ will also serve as hubs for community connection and socialisation, with 70% of consumers wanting local retailers to reflect the people and communities they serve. 

Once again, we find this trend reflecting in Culture Kings’ recent opening in Sylvia Park, its first international store. Sylvia Park is New Zealand’s biggest and busiest shopping centre, with 15 million store visits annually (equivalent to every Kiwi visiting three times!) – but it’s actually 12km from the Auckland CBD. 50% of Auckland’s population lives within a 20-minute drive of Sylvia Park’s strategic location on the city fringe, and there are big development opportunities for the swathes of suburban land surrounding the shopping centre turned thriving mixed-use community.  

Back across the Tasman Sea, 85% of Australians intend to buy from local businesses to help them on the road to recovery, and the commercial property sector is responding to these shifting demands accordingly. Australian Unity committed $85 million in July 2020 in further development works across its neighbourhood shopping centre portfolio. And like Sylvia Park, Chadstone Shopping Centre’s $685 million expansion proves that suburbs are well and truly the future of post-COVID retail. 

Of course, opportunities for city-centre retailers aren’t gone for good, but this dramatically altered property landscape necessitates skilled tenant advisory and representation. Speak to Tenant Leasing Group today to help identify, source and negotiate the best property solution your business needs to survive in a post-COVID world.  

We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog series. Stay safe, stay sane, and stay tuned for more commercial real estate insights. 

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Phil Reichelt

Director, Tenant Leasing Group

Phil has 25+ years experience advising and representing tenants on retail, office, industrial, large format retail, healthcare and other commercial property leasing.

A trusted veteran, Phil knows how to work negotiations in the tenant’s favour. He builds relationships directly with founders, business owners and senior executives to help optimise their business property situation.

Better lease deals for business tenants.

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