Online shops contribute to tough climate

Tayler NealeAlbany Advertiser

The rise in online retail is contributing to a challenging business climate in Albany, according to Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Russ Clark.

There are 51 commercial properties for lease in Albany, according to reiwa.com.au, with at least 10 business premises for lease on York Street.

With a host of recent closures including Lawrence and Hanson, House and Midalia Steel, and several shop fronts standing vacant on York Street and at the Link complex, Mr Clark said it was a tough environment for local businesses.

“Albany business is doing it really tough, particularly retail,” he said.

“Traditional bricks-and-mortar business is making way to the online world.

“As such, it is essential businesses have an online presence.

“Businesses must keep a vigilant eye on their activities and look for new opportunities to connect to their customers.”

He said the ACCI was focused on promoting local businesses.

“ACCI will continue to push for the Try Local approach and we are getting greater assurances from the State Government that they are looking for local procurement content in their activities,” Mr Clark said.

“But it is a competitive world now and business is competing with companies all over the world via online business activities — not just a local competitor.”

City of Albany chief executive Andrew Sharpe said the city was feeling the flow-on effects from a struggling WA economy.

“The economic climate in WA has slowed and unfortunately a lot of businesses and people across the State are doing it tough,” he said

“Albany is fortunate that it is shielded somewhat from downturns in the mining and resource sectors and our economy remains relatively steady. However, we are not immune from some of the challenges a slowing economy brings and we understand there are local businesses feeling the pinch.

“While the City has no direct control over business trends or rental fees on retail spaces, what we can try and influence is the vibrancy of our city, and particularly the CBD, to encourage a higher level of visitation to Albany and bring more people into the main retail precinct.”

Bravo Shoes owner Angie Fryer-Smith said her business was in the process of closing down but was not doing so because of the economic climate in Albany.

However she indicated more needed to be done to increase tourism.

“Albany needs to continue to create a tourist-friendly city,” she said. “You also need an online presence these days.”

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