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Will competitors respond to Sylvia Park expansion, or simply watch?

  • Opinion
  • December 13, 2017
Will competitors respond to Sylvia Park expansion, or simply watch?

The recent announcement that Farmers Trading Company were going to open a new large store in Sylvia Park shopping centre in Auckland has opened up a range of new questions as to the strength of Sylvia Park and the potential decline of other shopping centres.

Farmers have stores in Pakuranga, Botany, Manukau and Newmarket shopping centres and all are within a maximum five to nine kilometre radius of Sylvia Park. So what does this mean to Sylvia Park and the other centres?

Sylvia Park is now by far the largest and most effective shopping centre in New Zealand.

The Kiwi Property owned shopping centre has outmanoeuvred its competitors with extensions and new retailers over the past few years and they are now adding a new commercial building and further retailers including the new Farmers. Seldom is a centre so complete with almost all major New Zealand retailers represented in the one environment. Add to that, new international retailers such as H&M, a smart food and beverage environment, a cinema complex, together with a railway link and the concept is unbeatable. So is there an Achilles heel? Ironically, the growth and range of retailers is the Achilles heel in itself. Getting to the shopping centre off a very busy arterial route and finding a car park is a nightmare.

Adding more car parking may sound like the answer, but it will never satisfy the demand at peak periods when customers want to get into the centre, do their shopping and get back home.

Simply put there are no answers to customer frustrations and while Sylvia Park is by far the best retail offering in New Zealand, it will continue to frustrate itself through its inability to handle traffic flows in a controlled and stress-free manner.

More to the point however, is the impact on nearby shopping centres. One would have thought that all competitors would have taken the opportunity to beat Sylvia Park at its own game and offer shoppers more of the same but most importantly better parking. They have all failed. In fact, it seems that Pakuranga Plaza, which sits well located at the junction of one of Auckland's busiest intersections, has effectively flown the white flag. Most of its retailers have abandoned the centre and with Farmers Trading announcing an opening of a large new store at Sylvia Park, the retention of Farmers at Pakuranga is most unlikely given the proximity of Pakuranga to Sylvia Park. Apparently, Pakuranga has also abandoned its plans for a major $500 million redevelopment so the retention of Pakuranga Plaza as a major retail hub looks to be under serious threat.

In days of highly competitive behaviour, and traditional retail under threat from the likes of a circling Amazon, it is prudent as a shopping centre owner to continue to improve the offering. Kiwi Property did not sit on its laurels but continued to expand and improve its offering. Other centres have failed to respond and the shift in retail power is remarkably obvious. What will be key for the future however is the availability of parking, and the door is still ajar for competitors to Sylvia Park to make a move!

 Paul Keane is a registered property professional and has vast experience in New Zealand’s commercial property industries. He provides retail and property consultancy including development management to many New Zealand property owners, developers and city councils. This post originally appeared on RCG's blog.

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The Retail Hotlist: Blackbird Goods is 'Best provincial retailer'

  • News
  • August 15, 2018
  • Sarah Dunn
The Retail Hotlist: Blackbird Goods is 'Best provincial retailer'

Back in June, we celebrated retail's best and brightest with NZ Retail and The Register's first-ever awards: The Retail Hotlist. We've been sharing the stories behind the winners for a couple of months now. Read on for the last installment in the series: Blackbirds Goods of Napier, who won 'Best provincial retailer.'

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Cocavo expands 4,000 stores further into the US

  • News
  • August 14, 2018
  • Courtney Devereux
Cocavo expands 4,000 stores further into the US

Whangarei founded company Cocavo has recently extended into over 4,000 Walmart stores in the US. We spoke to CEO of Cocavo, Chris Nathan, about what it takes to roll out the humble New Zealand product further into international markets.

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  • News
  • August 14, 2018
  • Sarah Dunn
The Retail Hotlist: 'Retail visionary' goes to GoodFor's James Denton

We've been sharing the stories behind each winner of our awards programme, The Retail Hotlist. We're nearly at the end of the list - but first, read how James Denton from packageless grocery start-up GoodFor was named 'Retail visionary'.

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  • News
  • August 13, 2018
Menulog introduces people's choice to online restaurant awards

Technology has aimed to add convenience to all parts of life, food delivery included. As our nation's love for dining out and ordering in has meant food delivery providers have had to keep up with increasing demand. Menulog, for example, has included a new people’s choice vote in its winter Restaurant Awards.

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  • News
  • August 13, 2018
  • Sarah Dunn
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Vote and win: Vote for our cover in the People’s Choice awards

  • News
  • August 10, 2018
  • The Register team
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