Shopping centre owner Stockland says there is plenty of demand from shop owners to replace the increasing number of retailers going into voluntary administration, most notably electronics chain Dick Smith.
Nine retailers have called in administrators in the past eight months, leaving more than 30 shops in Stockland’s portfolio vacant, the group’s commercial property chief executive John Schroder says.
But Stockland has had no problems filling those vacated shops, with dental clinics, doctor practices, physiotherapists and financial services among those wanting to move into shopping centres, he said.
“Consumer sentiment has been mixed and there has been a slightly elevated number of retailer closures,” he said as Stockland released its annual financial results.
Mr Schroder said 93 per cent of vacant shops have already attracted another lease agreement or are under lease negotiations.
“We have no concern about filling the space,” he said.
“The message is, these were retailers that were selling yesterday’s products. They were too slow to compete, couldn’t keep up with consumer trends and fell by the wayside.”
Stockland has 42 shopping centres, with 3,500 tenants.
The group’s retail portfolio recorded funds from operations of $402 million in the 12 months to June 30, up from $379 million in the prior year.
This is despite easing sales growth from the major supermarkets and fashion retailers, a key driver of Stockland’s rents, amid fierce competition.
Communication and technology, cafes and fast casual dining were the better performers, Mr Schroder said.