The sale of Wagga’s Sturt Mall to SCA Property Group for $73 million should be seen as a vote of confidence in Wagga and its retail industry.
A walk down Baylis Street or a visit to Wagga’s other major retail precincts will reveal that the city is still a regional centre that provides access to shops for a wide region.
SCA Property Group told ASX shareholders it expected a 6.3 per cent return for its Wagga investment.
That figure is highly competitive according to research into Australian shopping centre investments by commercial real estate firm JLL Australia.
The sale will hopefully lift spirits in the regional retail sector, which has for years been placed on the endangered list by business commentators and futurists over the rise of online shopping.
Though much has been said about Amazon’s official launch in Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald revealed otherwise.
Amazon’s sales for its launch were a drop in the ocean compared to chains like Myer.
The latest SAP Consumer Propensity Study has found that Australian shoppers are the world’s most likely to ditch a ‘virtual’ cart after a session of online shopping.
SAP’s research suggests that Australians are persuaded to abandon their prospective purchases when online retailers tag on the costs of shipping or begrudgingly reveal a six-week delivery time.
Wagga’s bricks and mortar retailers have the advantage of products being in front of the buyer immediately.
Those in the regional retail should not be complacent, as Amazon and eBay have both launched all-you-can-eat priority freight service and plan to speed up their delivery times across NSW.
Much like the Australian-made campaign, perhaps Wagga and regional retailers will intensify their ‘shop local’ message on the basis that money spent in-person helps all in the Riverina.
More shops means more direct and indirect jobs, a more friendly and functional main street, more sponsorship for sports teams and more donations for community groups and greater population growth.