AN influx of international retailers, shopping centre upgrades, and the rise of online shopping has kickstarted Perth’s biggest retail overhaul in 50 years, a forum on Perth’s retail future has heard this morning.
More than 300 attendees at the Property Council of Australia breakfast at the Hyatt Regency Perth were told international traders still preferred Perth’s two key malls on Hay Street and Murray Street rather than urban shopping centres — but that they would soon make their way to the suburbs.
Architects, shopping centre managers, town planners and local government representatives were among the attendees.
Shopping centres would also move from “retail boxes” to designer spaces with dining and entertainment options, starting with Ocean Keys Shopping Centre in Clarkson.
The revamped Ocean Keys centre will open later this year and include a new dining precinct, a Target and 30 new specialty stores.
Upgrades are also in the planning stages for Garden City and Karrinyup shopping centres.
The construction and delivery phase of those projects should begin by 2016.
Zara, Top Shop and Williams-Sonoma are leading the influx of international retailers, with the new Zara’s first Perth store to open in Booragoon next month.
The retail overhaul comes at a time when WA has emerged as one of the biggest online shopping regions in Australia, the attendees were told.
After the NT and ACT, WA had the third highest spend per capita on online sales.
Panellist Jim Tsagalis, managing director for Lease Equity, also said the rise of hotel developments, emergence of new food and beverage precincts, new liquor licensing approvals, and the simultaneous development of large-scale projects were driving the retail change.
Mr Tsagalis said the Elizabeth Quay precinct, the Perth City Link, and a Forrest Chase upgrade would continue to attract international retails over coming years.
“Over $2b will be spent on shopping centre developments over the next four years,” Property Council of Australia WA president Joe Lenzo said.
“That’s the kind of figure you hear for the mining industry.”
Mr Lenzo said the lifting of restrictions on shopping centre sizes had been the catalyst for the transformation.
“[The retail landscape] is going to be totally transformed,” Mr Lenzo said.
“We’ve been way behind the rest of Australia; even our biggest shopping centres don’t make the top 40.”
Mr Lenzo said in addition to the international retailers already announced, half a dozen others were interested in Perth including major Singapore retailers.
“Shopping centres will become true destinations,” he said.
“You won’t go there only to shop — you go there to be entertained, to eat.”
He said Perth’s new-look shopping centres would incorporate commercial and residential apartments and have a “true main-street flavour” similar to established centres in NSW and London.