Part of the decline is due to independents shutting up shop, while many of the survivors are just clinging on.
Now for the good news
- Australian brands cut through with discerning buyers. Probably the best news is that while global retailers will start to dominate mass fashion, their impact will be disproportionately on mainstream chains in CBDs and large shopping centres. There will be an appetite for innovative Australian brands, unique Australian design and more niche-oriented concepts that offer a clear alternative to the global ho-hum that everyone else is wearing.
- Rents might drop in some areas. Another potential positive – albeit less certain – is that rents may become increasingly flexible in less dominant regional shopping centres, sub-regional shopping centres and suburban strips that are unable to attract the global names. Already there has been some widespread slippage showing up in rental growth.
There’s no question though that more tough times lie ahead for independent retailers in Australia, particularly those clinging to outdated operating models that run on outdated real estate platforms. For the sake of the domestic rag trade it is hoped that the 32 per cent specialty market share is as low as it goes.