Hamilton's evolving retail landscape promising, new survey shows

The CBD retail vacancy rate decreased from 9.3 per cent to 8.2 per cent in the six months to June.
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

The CBD retail vacancy rate decreased from 9.3 per cent to 8.2 per cent in the six months to June.

A new survey has shown a glimmer of hope for Hamilton's previously ailing CBD with retail vacancy rates dwindling. 

The CBD retail vacancy rate decreased from 9.3 per cent to 8.2 per cent in the six months to June, according to a survey by Curnow Tizard.

The survey is done biannually in partnership with CBRE Research and NAI Harcourts.

The leasing market in Hamilton's CBD has been particularly strong with a high level of churn. Browsers Bookshop is one ...
MARK TAYLOR/FAIRFAX NZ

The leasing market in Hamilton's CBD has been particularly strong with a high level of churn. Browsers Bookshop is one example, having moved across Victoria St.

NAI Harcourts Waikato managing director Mike Neale said the survey has shown retail tenancies are changing within the CBD, with retailers requiring smaller spaces.  

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"Where a tenancy is able to be split, it is being split because its more cost affective. 

"Larger places generally have been harder to fill."

There has been continual demand for retailers to take smaller spaces or for landlords to offer smaller tenancies, especially from independent retailers, he said.

He expected the trend to continue as the retail environment changed.

"There's a couple of little [retailers] that have gone into Garden Place. 

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"I think retail still has some challenges. But I think the key with the CBD is these independent retailers.

"There's a constant raising of quality. We now have more competition so we're to have to refurbish.

"I think we'll look back in five years and go 'boy, that 10 years was massive transition in terms of the quality of space that's available and the continual demand for it."

The survey showed there was a greater mix of traders with a wide range of retail merchandise and service-related offerings. 

Food retailing continued to have the largest presence in the CBD, accounting for almost a third of the stores surveyed.

Followed by personal retailing, such as Torpedo 7, adult shops and suite hire.

The health and beauty sector saw a boost during the first half of the year increasing by 13.2 per cent. 

While fashion and soft good dwindled by 5.6 per cent. 

The net reduction in vacancy was 984 square metres as uptake of vacant space outnumbered new vacancies and refurbished stock became occupied. 

There were more tenancies occupied and fewer vacant than in December 2015.

The leasing market has been particularly strong with a high level of churn and vacancy take ups across a variety of tenancy sizes, quality grades and locations, the survey found.

 - Stuff

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