Friday 7 September 2012

New Retail Mixes

A report in Inside Retail this week talked about the changing nature of retail mixes in shopping centres and, while we QVM traders constantly deny we work in a shopping centre, it is fair to acknowledge some connection.

The author of this article was critical of what he called a knee-jerk reaction to the sudden change in consumerism. It would appear that many shopping centres have adopted an “out with the old merchandise model, and in with food and entertainment” philosophy. Given the sudden departure of some major retailers and the vacant space left, perhaps we can understand their methodology.  The sudden proliferation of coffee shops at QVM may be a similar reaction.

A recent retail study identified that Australian regional shopping centres had an average of 38.3 food service outlets. Add in banks, hairdressers, movie theatres and other service type outlets and the dilution of traditional retail businesses can be easily identified. Interestingly, the USA is bucking the trend with recent data showing that retail mixes have not changed substantially. The share of specialty floorspace occupied by apparel has increased steadily, from just under 49 per cent in 1996 to more than 57 per cent in 2011. Food service is a horizontal line, and total general merchandise has increased its share from 75 per cent to 79 per cent. What regional centres have done in the US is become fashion specialists. Specialisation through innovative concepts has enabled a stabilisation not seen in many other countries.

We can’t help but comment that, with few exceptions, QVM’s apparel offering is noted for its lack of innovation and specialisation.