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Editions

Retail boom for Docklands

02 Nov 2011

By Bethany Williams

The City of Melbourne is expecting Docklands to lead retail growth over the next five years.

According to the Melbourne Retail Strategy 2006-2012 Year 5 Report Card 2010-2011, released last month, Docklands will be responsible for 31 per cent of Melbourne’s retail growth over the next five years.

The report also showed that the amount of businesses in Docklands had increased by 517 per cent since 2002.

According to the report, in 2010 there were 864 business locations in Docklands compared with 140 in 2002.

Of these businesses 284 were retail – a big increase when considering Docklands started with 10 pioneer retailers in 2002.

The projected retail growth rate in Docklands is encouraging, but raises questions about how such growth will be supported.

Last month Docklands News reported that commercial property vacancies in Docklands had risen by 4.9 per cent between February and August. Commercial property includes office buildings, industrial property and retail stores.

These statistics were gathered through a report conducted by Savills Research as part of the Melbourne Retail Strategy.

The report showed that Docklands had 10.2 per cent more commercial property vacancies than the CBD.

Other statistics provided in the report go some way to explaining this, particularly with respect to retail vacancies.

The report also showed that Docklands residential population increased by 55 per cent to 6532 people between 2006 and 2009. However, even this population increase cannot provide sustainable local support for the 284 retail businesses.
In fact, this is a ratio of 23 residents per business.

“As everyone knows that is nowhere near enough to provide a local economy,” Docklands Chamber of Commerce president Keith Rankin said.

“Docklands operates as a visitor economy, which the city is aware of, the chamber is aware of, and the businesses are aware of. We are all working towards making Docklands a sustainable visitor economy,” he said.

A spokesperson from City of Melbourne said the council held and supported a number of events at Docklands such as the July Friday night fireworks, Melbourne International Boat Show and the Japanese Summer Festival in order to help boost retail spending in the precinct.

“All events and campaigns are aimed at encouraging increased and repeat visitation to Docklands throughout the year. It is campaigns like these that will continue to support and encourage retail growth in Docklands,” the spokesperson said.

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