Understanding the Gold Coast ‘store wars’

By Greg Bell

It's common knowledge that the Gold Coast is quickly becoming one of Australia's most important and fascinating property markets. With developments on a wide range of fronts, a growing population and several high profile events coming up in the next few years, it will be hugely interesting to see how the region continues to change.

With more people arriving in the area, and due to a lack of readily useable land, the prices of homes have gone up, and are widely predicted to continue to do so. This isn't the only impact on the property market though, with commercial real estate on the Gold Coast being one of the biggest potential beneficiaries of the changes happening in the area. After all, more people means more spending, providing an environment of great opportunity where business and property owners alike are trying to translate resident needs into greater profit margins. 

In a series of bids to be known as the best commercial hotspot in the region, the big shopping malls of the region have begun a series of developments and renovations – all in an effort to attract the most customers. This battle has been affectionately nicknamed the 'store wars', but how much of an impact will it really have on the Gold Coast's commercial landscape

Store wars: A new hope

As mentioned above, this contest is being waged almost exclusively by the mega-sized shopping malls of the region – that have a vast amount of cash available with which to renovate, revamp and refit their properties. It's not hard to see the logic behind these efforts. After all, customers are a fickle bunch, and if one location can boast a better food court, better transport options or a more accessible car park, then that's where they'll go. 

One of the most recent examples is Australia Fair, which recently announced a $25million refit, with the focal point being a new food court that will extend across Marine Parade – providing a unique point of difference from its competitors. Similarly, Robina Town Centre is also building a new dining area – The Kitchen – to the tune of $160million, which will boast more than 50 retailers. 

Of course, these renovations aren't the only incentives being rolled out in a bid to entice customers. Price drops and bargain battles are also being seen among the biggest of the malls, all in an effort to keep people coming back for the next hot deal. 

Mall or nothing

With so much cash being splashed about by the shopping centres, it might seem a daunting atmosphere for smaller Gold Cost retailers, or commercial property owners who don't have the funds to compete on a large scale. After all, there are very few retail stores outside of malls that are in close proximity to a food court. So, how can these businesses compete? Well, the answer is the same as it's always been – through the great customer service that you don't get at chains and franchises. 

In addition, it's important to remember that shopping at malls isn't for everyone. There are plenty of shoppers out there looking for more boutique stores, or a less hectic experience, and these people are the lifeblood of smaller retail hubs. Smaller commercial enterprises are also less limited by the strict rules that malls impose on their tenants. There's far more room to be a bit funky, whether with extravagant window displays, live music or anything else that might set you apart. 

Ultimately, though the malls will continue to flex their muscles over the coming years, there is still a very firm place for commercial hubs of all shapes, sizes and styles. For more information on commercial real estate on the Gold Coast, contact Ray White Surfers Paradise today.

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