Coffs Coast Business, Local

Do shops in our region seem quieter to you?

Walking through the CBD it’s hard to say whether Coffs Harbour is struggling or flourishing.

“Overall people aren’t spending, they are looking, saying hey I like your stuff but they aren’t buying,” said one local business owner, Ali.

The Coffs CBD pictured recently

“Another big factor for business is the rents, they are huge and businesses can’t afford them.”

President of the Coffs Harbour Business Chamber, Martin Wells said it’s a combination of the rental price and annual winter lull which is outside of shop owners control.

He hopes that the completion of construction in the CBD will mean a revitalised shopping precinct.

“Certaintly the shop owners that are feeling the pain now will feel the benefit once that is finished,” he said.

“A little bit of short term pain for outstanding gain.”

First published at The ABC Coffs Coast Facebook page – 4 July 2019. See:

Editors note: Their are a lot of extraneous factors beyong local authorities that effect retail – internet shopping, the national economy, the buying power of shoppers being just a few. What do you think local Council’s can do bearing in mind the Coffs Council has now approved residential units to be located upstairs in the Coffs Harbour CBD for example? Are landlords being realistic in today’s economic circumstances? Should we care about this as an issue overall or is online shopping the future?

Produced below are three of the comments from the ABC Facebook site;

Paul Shoker Interesting post. My feeling is Coffs is in the grips of a localised recession. The problem? People just aren’t spending.
With low wage growth and low interest rates there is increased pressure on household budgets.
Consumers just don’t have confidence to spend and our large pool of retirees on fixed earnings are feeling the pinch.
Further soaring energy prices are eating into family budgets for non discretionary spending.
There are numerous vacancies in commercial/ industrial complexes which may be in part due to over supply and increased spending in online retail.
The digital economy is great but it does also lead to a mas exodus of the local dollar.
Coffs has long been over reliant on the public sector to generate economic activity, sadly this trend continues.

Michelle Vidler Now lots of choices home base, plaza, cbd, toormina, bello, jetty and some take a weekend to the Gold Coast to shop, then online!
No loyalty any more to shop at home, sadly! BUT no matter what you do making money is sadly the number one goal in life and unfortunately people will do whatever it takes to get their cut, which ends with everyone losing out overall from the looks of it!

Chris Bramley Council has given preferential treatment to the CBD at the expense of the wider LGA for over 20 years for zero result. Shop vacancies have not been greater, with many having been empty for years, including those facing the highway, a nice image for visitors.

CBD Special Rates have simply gone to consolidated revenue.

Council needs to focus on the core drivers for economic development and jobs rather than a bias treatment of a centralised group of property owners.

Finally the fallacy of the “Civic and Cultural Centre” (aka Council offices) has no merit in the CBD and nor can a cash strapped Council afford it.

One Comment

  1. At last count there were 28 shops within the CBD area with For Lease signs on their windows. Apparently now growing by the week. Given the increasing use (year upon year) of online shopping, conventional retail shopping cannot be rejuvenated to the 1980’s levels especially in Coffs Harbour with its low socioeconomic standing, high youth unemployment and serious social issues.

    We have 4 or 5 retail stores selling the same “stuff” but despite that, those with healthy bank accounts choose to enjoy their “shopping experience” in Sydney, Brisbane or Gold Coast.

    It’s a very interesting observation that in Sydney’s CBD; Pitt Street Mall or Chatswood for example, one sees people sitting in the coffee shops with multiple shopping bags at their feet containing named brand goods. In Coffs Harbour CBD the coffee shops and eateries are mostly frequented by ladies sitting having refreshments BUT without retail shopping bags..! So, Coffs CBD is predominately used as a social meeting ground. Whereas Park Beach Plaza is both for shopping and socialising. There you will see ladies and families having a coffee with bags at their feet.

    Not much retail therapy occurs in Coffs Harbour’s CBD. And a new expensive shiny glass Council Office and art gallery ain’t gonna change this situation one iota.

    Nope, there’s no financial benefit in what is being put forward as a solution to revitalising our CBD. It’s all pie in the sky wishful thinking. $2M/year of economic benefit…!! Who taught these fellows about Rational Economics..?

    No offence meant, just something to stimulate thought.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *