Retail Decline

Adelaide Street, Fremantle

In the last 10 years, businesses have left Fremantle in droves. There are many factors contributing to this. The impact of turning the town centre into a construction site for years to rebuild the new Admin building was never factored into the planning. Nearby businesses have literally been decimated by this construction zone and the Council still fail to acknowledge this.

Click on link below for ABC article about the impact of businesses caused by the Admin demolition and rebuild:

In 2010 the City commissioned a report called ‘Retail Model Plan’ to identify retail opportunities for Fremantle.

Interestingly, the authors identified the issues below which still exist today:

“From this work, a consistent view of retailing in Fremantle emerged. Whilst it had some significant strengths, including heritage precincts, tourism attractions, Notre Dame University, cafes and restaurants and some excellent and unique retailers, some fundamental shortcomings were detracting from the retail performance. These shortcomings – challenges – included the physical separation and isolation of the attractions and the retail anchors, a weakness in so-called ‘comparison’ store categories, such as fashion, home wares, gift wares etc and some serious dead spots where there is little activity. This in turn detracts from the enjoyment of walking around Fremantle and also leads to elements of anti-social behaviour that further compounds the problem.

As occurs with most main street shopping precincts, a perceived lack of parking emerged as a significant deterrent to people visiting Fremantle to shop when compared with purpose built shopping centres.

Risks were identified in the longer term future of three of the four key retail anchor retailers. It is clear that Myer and Woolworths are not trading to their potential and Coles may close, at least temporarily, during a planned redevelopment of the Woolstores Shopping Centre in 2016. A review of the competitive market place within which Fremantle operates demonstrated the very strong competition from Garden City at Booragoon.”

The City needs to invest in a new retail study now to get a baseline on the retailers left in 2021 – Woolworths and Myers have now gone. The City needs to find out what the retailers need in order to survive the obvious threats facing retail today, like online shopping and losses due to Covid 19. The lack of parking and parking fees are issues that keep coming up as reasons for people staying away from Fremantle.