Small business owners fear the death of the shopping centre as a spate of store closures forces customers to buy online, turning plazas into ghost towns.
Small business owners fear the death of the shopping centre as a spate of store closures forces customers to buy online, turning plazas into ghost towns.

Is this the death of the shopping centre?

SHOPPERS and small business owners are fearing the death of shopping centres as a slew of store closures forces more and more shoppers online.

AMP Capital's Indooroopilly Shopping Centre was a ghost town today - its corridors barren of both customers and retailers.

Passing through the centre, The Courier Mail counted 181 retail stores - a whopping 124 had shut their doors, their windows lined with signs that declared temporary closures.

Empty floors at Indooroopilly shopping centre where they have had mass store closures. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Empty floors at Indooroopilly shopping centre where they have had mass store closures. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

Sale placards adorned the windows of the majority of the open stores.

In the words of shopper Nikkila Goulding, it was an "eerie" scene.

Empty floors at Indooroopilly shopping centre where they have had mass store closures. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Empty floors at Indooroopilly shopping centre where they have had mass store closures. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

"It's a more real, you see it on social media but it's still different to what you expect when you come in here."

Nikkila Goulding shopping at the empty Indooroopilly shopping centre. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Nikkila Goulding shopping at the empty Indooroopilly shopping centre. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

"It's sad to see everything all closed up," said shopper Abbie Breckenridge.

"I think every thing's just moved online …"

Abbie Breckenridge shopping at the empty Indooroopilly shopping centre. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Abbie Breckenridge shopping at the empty Indooroopilly shopping centre. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

Mazz & Co Plants director Dave Ellis was manning the businesses Indooroopilly pop-up store yesterday - his counter adorned with Glenn 20, hand sanitiser and sanitary wipes,

He said he'd watched the Indooroopilly grow quieter daily over the past three weeks - even seeing corporate giants such as Myer and Foot Locker drop off.

"Four weeks ago it was good, three weeks it started dropping down and over the last two weeks it's all disappeared," Mr Ellis said.

"It's just getting harder and harder to justify being open."

Dave Ellis of Mazz and Co at his plant store at Indooroopilly shopping centre. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Dave Ellis of Mazz and Co at his plant store at Indooroopilly shopping centre. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

 

Mazz & Co also operate a full scale nursery at Park Ridge - Mr Ellis said his business, like many others, had adopted an online focus in the wake of the coronavirus.

"We do a virtual tour with a camera so you can look at the plants, and we interface directly with you on Facebook marketplace."

The online approach was driving sales for the nursery, but it was a bittersweet reality with Mr Ellis saying he feared the coronavirus closures would quicken the demise of the physical retailer.

Dave Ellis of Mazz and Co at his plant store at Indooroopilly shopping centre. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Dave Ellis of Mazz and Co at his plant store at Indooroopilly shopping centre. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

"It's going to the stage now where it could be the end of the shopping centre, it's been quieter even the last couple of years with people buying online."

A spokeswoman for AMP Capital - which owns the Indooroopilly Shopping Centre - said the company had been working individually with Indooroopilly retailers through day-to-day correspondence to ease the "burden of this crisis.

Empty floors at Indooroopilly shopping centre where they have had mass store closures. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Empty floors at Indooroopilly shopping centre where they have had mass store closures. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

"Every retailer needs different support and we are speaking with them individually to understand their particular circumstances," she said.

"Examples include pausing rent payments for the next couple of months, a change in trading hours, or assisting them to shut down for a period of time."

"We have also cancelled direct debit rent payments for April to assist with retailers cashflow."

Originally published as Coronavirus closures: Is this the death of the shopping centre?


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