2015 was a good year for the retail sector, and early indications are that stores had a good Christmas too. December is the busiest time of the year for retailers. They’ll move mountains to make sure that new shops (and shopping centres) are open in time for Christmas trading.
Up until 2007, the retail sector was on a roll, and new shopping centres were being built all over the place. That changed when the recession hit in 2008 (and online shopping has no doubt had a big influence as well).
Retail development has been coming back to life over the last couple of years, and 2015-2016 sees the biggest expansion since the GFC. These centres are all shown on the RCG Development Tracker page (not to mention apartments, terraces and a host of other things).
In Auckland, we’ve already had the NorthWest Shopping Centre open out in Westgate. This was the first “new build” regional mall since Westfield Albany opened in 2007. At a more urban level, Lynnmall opened its new Brickworks precinct.
On a smaller scale, there are the centres that consist of a supermarket and a few small shops, usually of the ‘day-to-day’ shopping variety. The new Countdown-based centre in Hobsonville falls into this category, and even the first stage of the Ormiston Town Centre (based around Pak ‘N Save) for that matter. In Christchurch, there were two new ones, Spitfire Square at the airport, and The Landing at Wigram.
2016 will be a reasonably big year for retail too, with new centres like Tauranga Crossing and (in Westgate again) Zone 7, a large format centre.
Although the Christchurch CBD rebuild still has some way to go, three of the largest retail/ office developments – The Crossing, the BNZ Centre (aka Cashel Square) and The Terrace – will have their first stages open in time for Christmas.
Last August, I wrote:
With ongoing population growth, and some niches emerging, there will be more opportunities for retail – but with fewer new centres than last decade. And if the economics of new malls don’t stack up, could we see renewed interest in the “high street”?
Rhetorical question that one, the answer is “yes”.
As for residential development, December/ January has been a bit quiet in terms of new launches – real estate agents try to get these launched at least a few weeks before Christmas, otherwise they’ll leave them until the new year. Summer is obviously a busy time for builders, with long days, so it’s all go on various building sites around the place (I can hear one out my window right now). There’s a few projects finishing up this summer as well – Summit on Symonds, The Orange, The Seddon or Parkview Residences to name a few. More on that next month.