Forum 6 Cinemas and the Bowling and Entertainment Centre have expressed disappointment about the recent Toys ‘R’ Us closure as the property’s management seeks a new commercial tenant.
The store had a final 10-day sale and closed on August 5 this year after administrators announced in June that Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us would be wound down across the nation.
Forum 6 Cinemas’ manager Craig Lucas said it was never ideal to see businesses close.
“The whole Toys ‘R’ Us saga worldwide was disappointing to see,” Mr Lucas said.
“When it first shut down in the US, we thought the stores here would be fine.
“I think this one was performing okay – financially.”
In the 12 months to January 28, 2017, Toys ‘R’ Us Australia posted a $7.6 million operating loss.
The company posted a $9 million loss the year prior.
Mr Lucas, who has been in the role for 12 years, said online shopping has impacted the retail and entertainment sectors and worldwide.
“It’s hit the States and the UK more, but it’s still happening here,” he said.
Asked about what commercial enterprise he would like to see take up the empty space, he said he was unsure.
“Who knows what it’ll be – it’s too early to say at this stage,” Mr Lucas said.
“It’s up in the air, but I just like to see something in there.
“It’s just nice to see people come through the precinct.”
Similarly, Marnie Major, managing director at Wagga Bowling, said the closure meant loss of traffic to not just the adjacent businesses but the surrounding streets.
“It’s quite sad as you think corporations are more immune to this [financial problems],” Ms Major said.
“It was a big draw card to bring in foot traffic to this side of town, so it does make us worried moving forward.
It was a big draw card to bring in foot traffic to this side of town, so it does make us worried moving forward.Marnie Major, managing director at Wagga Bowling and Entertainment Centre
“Nothing’s ever certain, but we thought the store would have lasted longer.”
Ms Major, however, said that while she was unsure what would suit the site best, she was hopeful that a new business enter soon.
Development company Damasa Property, who owns the complex, said there had been early discussions with potential commercial tenants.
“A number of different businesses have been canvased – there’s been some interests but nothing’s progressed too far at this stage,” Mr Donebus said.
“It’s a large site, so the market for it is relatively small compared with other properties.”
With more than 3200 square metres of retail floor space, Mr Donebus said the ideal tenant would be another large retailer “that can transition easily into the site”.
He expressed his disappointments about the closure of TRUA, saying the Wagga store was performing well.
“On a store-by-store basis, it was doing really well,” Mr Donebus said.
“It just got caught up in the global problem that the chain experienced.”
Asked about the timeframe in obtaining a new commercial tenant, Mr Donebus said it was difficult to determine.
“We’d like to get someone in as soon as possible, so we’re certainly doing the work in trying to maximum exposure at local and national levels,” he said.