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Centre sales boost

WA's ailing small shopping centre market has been boosted by a Melbourne property syndicator seeking to buy the Kalamunda Central Shopping Centre for almost $12 million.

MCS Property, an $800 million fund manager, already owns Dianella Plaza and Geraldton's Northgate Plaza in its 24-centre portfolio.

It is also trying to buy Geraldton's Stirlings Centre for $11.7million.

Property and retail industry commentators are mostly bearish about the future of small suburban, or sub-regional, shopping centres.

They believe large regional centres such as the Galleria and Carousel are killing them off.

But MCS Property's Tony Torney said good small centres had a future.

"Yields are firming and sales are up," Mr Torney said.

"In the past five to 10 years food-based shopping centres have performed very well."

"You can always bank on food. People have to eat.

"If you have a major supermarket tenant on a long lease, you can hang 40 speciality stores off it and the centre will do well."

Mr Torney believes some sub-regional centres are struggling because of passive management.

"Food-based centres are management intensive and labour intensive but you can get good rewards if you manage the centre well, buy well and reinvest some of the money into refurbishments."

WA Retailers Association CEO Martin Dempsey said MCS looking around in the Perth market was good news.

"Hopefully there will be some fresh capital floating around that can be injected into these centres," Mr Dempsey said.

"There's not a lot of interest from local landlords in upgrading their centres."

Westfield Shopping Centre State manager Paul Lopez said, many of the smaller shopping centres are doomed to fail unless the managers stay smart and introduce innovative ideas to keep customers coming through the doors.

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