Ray White Commercial has undertaken a survey of the CBD prime retail strip to better understand occupancy levels and the tenancy mix in Toowoomba. This survey included prime street fronted strip retail assets along Ruthven Street between Herries and Russell Streets as well as Margaret Street between Neil and Victoria Streets. Demand for investment stock was elevated in 2017 for smaller retail assets in this location resulting in stable turnover levels and reducing yields.
The retail survey included 153 strip properties which totalled approximately 46,835sqm of space, and omitted assets which were being refurbished and not suitable for occupation. Of this total stock we have determined a vacancy figure of 12.75% with the major space user being the Services industry representing 28.71%. This Services sector is not typically highly represented in retail strips and usually dominates commercial office space mix, while there were a number of real estates and travel agencies; it was the large banking shopfronts which resulted in this expanded mix. Another tenant type which typically is not featured highly in strip surveys are the Furniture, Houseware & Appliance retailing category, large tenancies such as Amart has seen this grouping quite large at 18.65%. More typical strip retailing categories such as Clothing & Soft Goods also feature highly representing 12.09% dominated by ladies fashion with Recreational Goods Retailing also high (9.65%) due to the large JB Hi-Fi located on the strip. Surprisingly was the limited food retailing including Cafes and Restaurants, as this market is probably the largest mover in Toowoomba in recent years with a number of new establishments emerging. Closer consultation of this data shows that the small size in a number of these new eateries kept the mix by area limited, with food related tenancies accounting for 10.62%.