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Retailers Flee From CBDs Again

Empty storefronts in central business districts are again rising, with vacancy rates hitting all-time highs in some cities.

Perth saw vacancies surge to 26.7 per cent, with more than one in every four stores empty.

Adelaide, who just suffered through another lockdown, sat at 13.3 per cent vacancy rate for the first half of 2021,  followed by Melbourne at 12.8 per cent and Brisbane at 12.7 per cent.

Surprisingly, Sydney bounced back during the first half of 2021, with a vacancy rate of just 8.3 per cent.

This is all according to CBRE figures. Although Melbourne’s appearance in the middle of the pack may suggest a swift recovery after being locked down for large stretches during 2020, the city’s vacancy rate sat at just 2.3 per cent prior to COVID-19.

Sydney’s figures will no doubt rise following the recent lockdown, as will Melbourne and Adelaide’s.

“A range of CBD retailers, mainly those in the clothing and soft goods industries, have closed their bricks and mortar stores and moved to a more online-centred platform in response to lower CBD foot traffic,” CBRE Research analyst Gus McConnell said.

There has been a 1.7 per cent decrease in total retail employment in NSW since February 2020.


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