As we move into 2018, RCG's Paul Keane reflects on the New Zealand of his childhood and considers what retailers can look forward to for the coming year.
It’s been a great summer and holiday period, in fact despite a couple of stormy days just after the start of the New Year, one could say the holiday break has been outstanding.
I did a bit of reading over the break and included in that was a book given to me which reflected on some traditional Kiwiana. It got me thinking and reflecting and I thought I would share with you some highlights of some of the Kiwiana which I related to and also some thoughts on what may be ahead for us in 2018.
I recall Sir Edmund Hillary climbing Mount Everest and the excitement generated in New Zealand from this event which was all over the radio waves that we glued our ears to. Dominion Bitter was the drink of the 1950s and beyond and I recall the 6 o’clock swill which restricted drinking in bars until just 6pm. I recall milk bars, which offered ice cream sundaes and milkshakes and were the gathering places for teenagers.
I recall the use of Kiwi boot polish and my Dad using it every morning to polish his boots. The brand is still about to this day.
I recall drinking milk out of a glass bottle at school through a straw and also the cream that had curdled at the top. I recall going to the dental clinic nurse at the "murder house," as it was then called. I recall the quarter acre section that we all aspired to and the weekly need to mow the lawns. I recall the Edmonds baking powder tin and the fact that my older brother used it to store his money in which was then borrowed with IOUs from my sisters. I recall the Four Square stores and the friendly neighbourly treatment received from the owners who effectively invented a "credit system". I recall sport on Saturdays and the thrill of having our parent’s watch you score that important try or hit the winning runs. I recall the train rides to Auckland and the NZR cups that were unbreakable, and of course the Tangiwai disaster, which took the life of one of my school friends.
"Great recollections and all without the use of an iPad or an iPhone!," you ask. "So what's up for 2018?"
I think it will be known as the year of the shopping centre decline, the year of improved profit sharing in retirement villages, and the rise of women in industry.
Major shopping centres will flourish, however the pressure on securing quality tenants will be a major challenge and expertise in retail planning will be a dominant factor in the success of this industry. By retail planning, I don't mean pretty stores and images, but rather the ability to select retailers who can offer a point of difference in a challenging competitive market. Certainly second or third tier shopping centres will be at risk and their property values are likely to decline as a result. No retailer can be considered a secure tenant give the competitive and changing nature of that industry.
Retirement villages will continue to prosper and grow in popularity. However, there will be a more detailed watch on costs by purchasers as to the development margin and its sharing into the future. No longer will purchasers in retirement villages be satisfied to simply accept what they offer without question and will debate the sharing of profits. Certainly, huge profits to the village owners will be a point of debate.
Certainly, women will dominate 2018 with an attitude towards equality and management skills. This year more than ever will women demonstrate their prowess in all levels of business activities and their competitive natures. This will be apparent in all levels of activities and even in areas that have previously been dominated by males.
So welcome to 2018, we wish you well. Maybe, we can pause from time to time and recall what it was like in the past. Time to think and reflect is good for all of us, and in doing so, maybe dispense with the iPad or iPhone for a while!
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.