The retail sea change that’s hitting Westfield where it hurts: experts say shoppers are turning away from mega-malls in favour of a different style of shopping

Press/Media: Expert Comment


Sydney shoppers are ditching mega malls for high street shopping strips in growing numbers, according to retail experts. 

Businesses in shopping strips are winning the battle for consumers with personalised service and community connectivity rarely seen in major shopping centres.

Flourishing and trendy high streets bustling with shoppers include King Street in Newtown, Military Road in Mosman and Queen Street in Woollahra, where an increasing number of retailers are thinking outside the square.

'(It's) where you form relationships with people. You talk to any small business retailers and they'll tell you they have friendships with locals who are very loyal,' business expert Linda Hailey told The Daily Telegraph.  

Macquarie Business School professor Jana Bowden added: 'I think high street stores focus on highly personalised, one-on-one experience. Consumers are looking to buy an experience and a huge part of the success of these stores is they are adding value through this customer care approach.

Shopping strips close to Sydney's CBD aren't the only ones that have benefited from the burgeoning trend from Penrith's High Street in the west to Manly on the northern beaches and Cronulla in the south.

Many shoppers prefer Cronulla Street to Westfield Miranda, according to Sydney Business Chamber chief executive Katherine O'Regan.

Newcastle's Hunter Street has also been touted as one to watch following the recent addition of light rail to the regional city north of Sydney.

But despite their growing popularity, high streets still need more council and state government support, according to business owner and Sydney City councillor Angela Vithoulkas.

She used Oxford Street in Darlinghurst as an example, where there are many for lease signs and empty shops.

'Local councils and state government are making a mistake by putting in clear ways and making ways to redirect people to big malls,' she said. 

Period23 Aug 2019

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