By Grant Muller
The opening last week of the Emporium, with some razzamatazz from Baz Lurhmann, was a public symbol of how Melbourne has become a shopping mecca and global retail destination.
To make the most of the new boom almost 1000 stores in Melbourne’s central shopping precinct will stay open late every day of the week and many have begun trading until at least 7pm every night as the city is positioned as a 24 hour global destination.
The $1.2 billion Emporium Melbourne occupies the site on Lonsdale St (that was formerly Myer) and is said to be the biggest retail development in Melbourne’s CBD in more than a century.
The 48,000sq m centre is home to 225 stores and there will be a particular emphasis on Australian fashion.
Combined with a revamped Myer, David Jones and Melbourne Central the CBD is now being driven by its three economies – business, tourist and residents.
The city ‘s astounding growth, with more than 844,000 daily users including 105,000 residents, 387,000 workers and 59,000 students, continues at a rapid rate.
The city’s retail and hospitality sectors contributing a combined $8.7 billion or 10 per cent to the city of Melbourne’s $86.7 billion economy in 2012 according to the MCC.
As a result global tenants are piling into the CBD with the Emporium securing the first Australian stores for New York skatewear brand Zoo York, US fashion group UCLA and Calvin Klein offshoot CK Watches and Jewellery.
Japan’s Uniqlo has also opened its first Australian store, with its multi-level store to sit near to the large-format outlet taken by Top Shop of Britain.
Other retailers include Victoria’s Secret, Marc Cain, Dr Denim, Michael Kors, Brooks Brothers, Capsule, Top 3 by Design and Farage.
Elswhere in the city Sweden’s H&M and COS retailers have also launched new store in the GPO building while in the nook and crannies that make up the amazing palate of the laneways restaurants are also arriving and thriving.
At the same time Richard Ellis Research has found Melbourne CBD retailing is improving with many new foreign retailers expected to come into the city. Cool restaurants are popping up everywhere and the vacancy rate for shops in the CBD has fallen to 1 per cent.
New restaurants such as Huxtaburger, Charlie Dumplings, Miss Chu and Soup Place are great for the business people and the new CBD population which is young, wealthy and looking for fun and adventure.
Next cab off the rank will be the Queen Victoria Market with a planned $250 million development that could be open seven days a week with a night market to ensure full use is made of the facilities.
Ahhh Melbourne, where too much eating, drinking and shopping is barely enough.