Although Melbourne’s CBD has long been the epicentre of economic, cultural and social life in the city, its role as the pre-eminent retail and commercial centre was brought to an abrupt halt by Covid-19.
During the peaks of the pandemic last year, visitor numbers to Melbourne’s retail spaces fell by 82.4 per cent from a January 2020 baseline, as workers, shoppers, diners and tourists were shut out.
In this TUD+ Briefing, retail leasing expert Zelman Ainsworth discusses the current health of Melbourne’s retail sector post-pandemic, the most up-to-date leasing, rent and asset value figures.
Ainsworth also discusses the medium-term outlook and a roadmap for a road to recovery for hard-hit retailers.
The city reopened its CBD retailing, which was severely depressed last year, in late October after one of the longest and most strict lockdowns in the world.
Melbourne recorded its best visitor figures for retail and recreation spaces in March, 2021 with numbers at their healthiest since March, 2020.
But the average vacancy rates for Melbourne's arterial retail strips surged to 13.9 per cent as of March, up from an already high 10.5 per cent pre-pandemic and almost triple the 20-year average of 6 per cent.
Appetite for retail investments, however, has not waned, while retail rent collection rates have begun to head in the right direction.