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Editions
August 09 Edition Cover

Harbour Town defies the gloom

31 Jan 2012

Harbour Town Shopping Centre defied the retail gloom in December and posted a healthy growth in sales figures.

When other centres went backwards, Harbour Town sales grew by 4.3 per cent in general over the same period in 2010 and by a whopping 8.2 per cent in apparel sales.

On a “moving annual turnover” basis, the centre recorded a “static” result which, according to manager Shane Brown, was a great result in the circumstances.

Mr Brown attributes the centre’s recent success to a number of factors including the recently-completed renovation and continued unique and targeted marketing.

“We are very pleased with the result which goes against the generally reported trend for retail,” he said. “It’s one of the better results considering some centres have gone backwards.”

Mr Brown said Harbour Town continued to exploit its natural “outdoor” advantage by putting on unique events such as bringing in farm animals.  On Australia Day, Harbour Town brought in one of the nation’s largest cows for a milking demonstration.

Other activities contributing to strong sales included the centre’s first eight-hour sale, when retail leaders slashed prices by up to 50 per cent, innovative Santa promotions and generously funded family competitions.

Mr Brown said Harbour Town’s December eight-hour sale was such a success it would probably be repeated every quarter.

Sponsorships also contributed, with great exposure being achieved through the centre’s association with the North Melbourne Football Club and valuable TV exposure also being achieved via its relationship with the Etihad Stadium-based Melbourne Renegades cricket team.

Renovations to the centre, completed last October, have given shoppers more shelter from the elements and greater access to the centre’s level one retailers.

And, not content to rest on its laurels, the centre turned up the volume on activities and promotions in January with reptile displays, bucking bulls and surfboard riding to coincide with the school holidays.

Mr Brown said the centre was also achieving breakthrough via its VIP email list and social media activities.  It has a database of more than 7000 VIPs and some 3500 Facebook fans.

“We will continue to do things which are unique and interesting,” Mr Brown said.

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