COME ON UP: Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers is putting out the welcome mat to potential businesses looking at setting up in the city.
COME ON UP: Gladstone Mayor Gail Sellers is putting out the welcome mat to potential businesses looking at setting up in the city. Luka Kauzlaric GLAMAYO

Mayor invites new traders to Gladstone, so who do you want?

Retail outlets doing it tough: even lower prices and sales still not bringing in the customers

LAST year Mayor Gail Sellers invited about 40 big franchise groups to consider coming to Gladstone, in an attempt to boost retail options in the city.

"Gladstone people are calling out in all areas, on Facebook, in all mediums, they're calling out for more shopping," Cr Sellers said.

"And we don't want that leakage to Rockhampton."

Cr Sellers only got about three replies and Miss India was the only success.

Now she's preparing for a second round and after asking the community who they want, responses varied from Boost Juice to Aldi.

"(They said) we need more specialty stores. No more jewellery shops, we need a book shop, more coffee shops, a Mexican restaurant," Cr Sellers said.

And Gladstone can put its money where its mouth is.

"We certainly are an affluent society," Cr Sellers said.

"We have the second highest wage group for yearly average earnings. Mackay is first and we're second."

With the high number of workers, food outlets are topping the needs list.

"People are eating out, so therefore we need to have a variety of restaurants."

Retail outlets doing it tough: even lower prices and sales still not bringing in the customers

CONSUMERISM is dying a slow death according to Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman, who said even low prices and sales were not tempting customers.

"Spending is not as important now as it was before," he said.

But Gladstone shoppers are crying out for more retail options, with the recent local openings of Muffin Break and Jham Bar receiving strong support.

Muffin Break co-owner Ankia Kriel said they had jumped at the chance when the franchise opportunity was advertised.

"There was a lot of demand for coffee shops and something different," she said.

"(If there were more options) people would shop locally before they go elsewhere."

Mr Zimmerman said spending habits had changed, with current spending nationally sitting on 2.3% year on year with inflation at 2.5%.

I think what will entice franchises to come there is if the Mayor is offering incentives.

"If you go back a few years ago, spending sat anywhere between 5.5% to 6.5%," he said.

"We are in a situation now that in some areas, particularly clothing and footwear, it would be a long way less than that, in fact it would be negative territory in those areas."

Queensland's growth is above average at 4.1% year on year, compared to the national average of 2.3%.

"So it's very patchy; areas where there is mining, you'll probably find it's sitting fairly well," Mr Zimmerman said.

Mayor Gail Sellers is looking to entice new retailers to the region, but Mr Zimmerman said in this climate, it may prove difficult.

"I think what will entice franchises to come there is if the Mayor is offering incentives," he said.

"If it's food franchises you are looking for, and there's one there you haven't got, then it's a fair possibility people will look at towns that are growing."

Stores like Aldi are high on the list for Gladstone consumers.

"Aldi is based on the Gold Coast and that is where their supply depots are and they can't come further north than Bundaberg," Mayor Gail Sellers said.

"But we've asked them to work on that. You never know!"

Cr Sellers said on Facebook she had been working with Aldi for the past 18 months and anticipated there would be a store in Gladstone.

Population size is also a factor in the feasibility of a business coming here.

What type of retail option does Gladstone need the most?

This poll ended on 10 August 2013.

Current Results

More cafes/restaurants

19%

Department store

12%

A discount supermarket

25%

A bookshop

12%

More clothing stores

18%

More entertainment options

11%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.