Freo's View



Anyone blaming Fremantle Council for the decline in retail and the many vacant shops in our port city should take note of an article in The Guardian newspaper that reports that UK shoppers are deserting the ‘high street’ in greater numbers than during the 2009 recession.

The Guardian reports that several big brand retailers in the UK are in receivership with a massive number of shops closing.

High street visits declined 3.3% in April, according to the BRC-Springboard monthly tracker, which also highlighted nearly one in 10 town centre shops are lying empty. The drop in footfall came on the back of a disastrous performance in March, when shopper numbers declined by 6%. Taken together there has been an unprecedented 4.8% drop over the two months – a bigger decline than was recorded in the same months of 2009 when the UK was mired in recession.

The question developers in Fremantle need to ask if this trend can be turned around and if new city centre based shopping centres like the FOMO retail concept at Kings Square by Sirona Capital will attract more shoppers away from the urban sterile shopping centres, that are now also changing direction and want to recreate the town square in shopping centres to make them more appealing to the community.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on May 6, 2011

While some people talk up the mining boom in Western Australia it is clear that the retail sector in Fremantle is not doing too well, when one looks at the number of empty shops in the centre of town.

Maybe those who charge extremely high rents for their properties do not realise that only a small part of the population gets paid very high salaries, while a large number of people are struggling to get by. The espresso I drink daily went up by 10% two weeks ago, my last haircut cost nearly 29% more than it did four weeks earlier, a wine bar down the road increased bar snacks by  20%. I could go on and on.

Of course all this is not sustainable in the long run, as many small businesses are clearly suffering and might have to close down as well, unless common sense prevails and property owners lower the rents instead of increasing them. If Fremantle becomes a ghost town no one will want to come here.

Roel Loopers

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