Suburban Strips are Thriving Despite Negative Commentary

By Nick Bacon July 11, 2019

You may have seen the recent article published in the AFR claiming it's much harder for retail strips to "curate experiences" due to the individual ownership of the shops.

If you missed it, here is a link.


Retail strips are an important and vibrant part of our local communities. When done well, we would argue they have greater capacity to offer a truly unique retail experience. They typically reflect the diversity, culture and immediate needs of our local neighbourhoods with an array of unique individual retailers. Often anchored by community services such as the local library or aquatic centre, they are a community meeting place, somewhere to drop your dry cleaning off, enjoy a coffee and grab a loaf of bread and some milk. They also offer wonderful opportunities for unique destination shopping and browsing experiences.

Suburban Strips are Thriving Negative Commentary-2

Most retail strips have a Trader's Association with the sole purpose of bringing traders together to enhance the strip atmosphere. Often the local Council is on board and assists with funding contributions and necessary works such as tree planting etc. A good example of this would be the Camberwell Centre Association which “…represents the retail traders and businesses of the Camberwell shopping precinct who contribute to a marketing fund administered by Boroondara Council. The association is run by the trader’s committee and it acts on behalf of traders to make key decisions relating to promoting the shopping precinct. With more than 400 stores…., it is one of the largest and most vibrant ‘street shopping centres’ in Victoria. Camberwell traders appreciate the support from their regular customers and in turn try to give back to the local community through events and assisting charitable organisations.”

The article goes on to further claim that many strip shops are “not fit for purpose….old, narrow frontages, quite dark”. These old buildings preserve the heritage and charm of our local communities. On the contrary they typically provide a canvas for creating a truly unique fit out with features such as exposed brick work, rough hewn timber beams, polished concrete or timber floor boards, cornices & ceiling roses and impressive facades available for use.

There is no doubt that the retail landscape is changing and all retailers, including those in shopping centres and retail strips, need to evolve and adapt to succeed. It is also important for consumers to support local businesses as much as possible to enable our strip centres to continue to thrive.

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Nick Bacon

Written by Nick Bacon

Since 1988 Nick has seen vast changes in Australian commercial property, but through his energy, passion and adaptability, he always ensures his clients benefit from the most responsive and up-to-date guidance on how to maximise the leasing potential of their assets.

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