Retail renaissance to revitalise redeveloped CBD

A host of national and international brands are lining up for prime positions in Perth’s CBD, punctuating a period of elevated retail leasing activity across Western Australia.

Commercial property agency Cygnet West negotiated more than 56,000 square metres of retail leases across the state in 2021, a result that surpassed the expectations of Director of Retail Agency, Ahmad Ibrahimi.

Mr Ibrahimi said while Cygnet West’s retail division had recorded significant momentum in 2020, expectations were that 2021 would be a subdued given the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and extended lockdowns across the eastern seaboard.

He said enquiries had instead accelerated over the past 12 months, with strong demand for shopfronts in neighbourhood shopping centres and suburban retail precincts driven by local retailers and food and beverage operators expanding their offerings or moving to more premium premises.

“Given the strength of WA’s economy – in contrast to other states – we’ve done quite well in terms of local retailers wanting to expand around Perth and WA’ Mr. Ibrahimi said.

“There’s quite a few retailers who have in the last two years have gone from having two or three shops, and now they are talking about not only opening their fourth and fifth locations, but also trying to franchise out and set their new visions around that.”

Mr Ibrahimi said those that had committed to new leases were attracted by competitive rents and generous incentives, with those terms complemented by sky-high consumer confidence across the state.

“Also, if you are sitting in an older building on the street and there is something better across the road with the landlord willing to provide incentives, it’s always enticing for that relocation to take place.
Heading into 2022, Mr Ibrahimi said the CBD would be among the epicentres of activity, with a growing list of major international and national retailers seeking flagship locations.

“We have been actively speaking to over 15 national and international retailers over the last year, who are wanting to come to WA and set up flagship stores in Perth CBD but have been denied entry” he said.
“We have continually engaged with all of them, putting together timelines and opportunities so that when they are able to come here, they can lock in those options.

“The first 6 months of this year is going to be a very busy period, because we’re going to be working with all of these brands as and when they come into Perth to have a look at retail spaces.”

Mr Ibrahimi said several of the well-known brands he was in negotiations with had already gained a foothold in Perth at redeveloped major centres Westfield Carousel and Karrinyup Shopping Centre. “When they have stores north and south of the river, the natural thing to do is to open up a flagship in the Perth CBD,” he said.

“Over the last few years, we’ve been hearing a lot of negativity on ‘Perth CBD , but those people do not see the data which showed over 42 million retail transactions in Perth’s CBD in 2021 contributing to over $1.7billion in sales. Over $600 million of that was spent on fashion and luxury goods alone”. “What we also have to take into consideration is the City’s plan to triple its resident population to 90,000 people in the next 30 years. In financial terms, this means over $1.5billion of ongoing investments in the CBD as we speak to help boost its dominance” Mr Ibrahimi said.

Last year, we saw several significant sales transactions including London Court which reemphasise Perth CBD’s dominance. During the year, our team were successful in limiting the vacancy to only 3 shops within thoroughfare. Our leasing deals include the former Nobu chef setting up Lil Mica gelato, the first in Perth CBD.”

Mica Creamery, London Court

“We currently have over 5,600 sqm of retail space available within the CBD and fringe ranging from 100 sqm line shops to over 700 sqm flagship opportunity on the corner of William and Murray St Mall”. Located in the busiest foot traffic junction of anywhere in WA, the tenancy is directly across from Chanel, Tiffany & Co, and Louis Vuitton. ”You don’t get opportunities like that every day in WA, or anywhere else in the world.” Mr Ibrahimi said

Key statistics for Cygnet West Retail Leasing for 2021:

• One of the largest dedicated retail leasing teams in Western Australia
• Negotiated over 56,000 sqm of retail leasing during 2021
• 322 leasing deals with 76% to National & International Retailers
• Increased Occupancy from 83% to 97% with a Regional Shopping Centre within the first 10 months of 2021
• Market leaders covering CBD, Metro and Regional WA with 200+ active listings
• Over 1,150 tenant inspections during 2021
• 4,200 average calls per agent during 2021