City retailers shop around

THE City of Perth is examining a proposal to privatise the promotion of the city as a shopping destination.

The CBD Marketing Plan has been created by finance company ING in an attempt by retailers to counter the strongly branded regional centres.

The plan is understood to propose an independent marketing consortium, funded in part by $2 million from the City of Perth and contributions from retailers in the city, to brand the city as a retail centre.

ING has a half share in Forrest Chase.

The concept of an independent market-ing group won support from some quarters, such as the Retail Traders Association, which sees Perth retailers suffering without the concerted marketing efforts of shops housed under one roof.

Centre management at Galleria, Carousel and Innaloo, for example, levy a marketing fee from traders to add to their promotional budgets.

But PCC said it already spent significantly promoting the city as a varied destination for more than just shopping.

And there also were concerns that some of the major shopping centres in the suburbs had prepared war chests to counter any increase in marketing activity in the CBD.

Forrest Chase general manager Albert Sertorio said ING carried out research in a number of different malls in Australia.

“It really has been initiated by Forrest Chase but it’s really for all the CBD retailers,” Mr Sertorio said.

“The Council has got the information in front of them … it’s really a bigger picture than just marketing.”

Councillor Jennifer MacGill said ING had undertaken research on retailers in other cities and concluded an independent marketing body would be the best solution for Perth city retailers.

“The CBD Marketing Plan was presented to the city and brought to a brief session … it received a mixed reaction,” Cr MacGill said.

“Our people are now working on an overall report which is more or less the result of these retail workshops and that should be out in the next month.”

But she maintains that marketing retail in the city is the job of the City of Perth and not a private group.

It’s understood to fund this marketing plan the independent group would ask for contributions from all the city retailers including the small independent operators.

“We have to be careful we don’t blame the marketing people for the general slow down in retail,” Cr MacGill said.

A City of Perth spokesperson said the existing marketing strategies for the City of Perth were based on developing and promoting the city as a vibrant locale for workers, families, tourists and destination shoppers.

“In the 2001-2002 budget the City has allocated $2.48 million to spend on the city malls to enhance the retail precinct,” the spokesperson said.

“In contrast to local governments who do not contribute to the marketing of the shopping centres located within their boundaries, the City of Perth does make a significant contribution to the marketing of the retail sector within its boundaries.”

Retail Traders Association manager Brian Reynolds said the difficulty was that the Council had a responsibility to promote the city overall rather than any one sector.

“Problems arise in the resources available to promote retail. It doesn’t stack up to the promotional activity of the major competition – the regional shopping centres,” Mr Reynolds.

“I think a management group, funded by the PCC contributing the funds they would otherwise dedicate to retail marketing, and topped up by stake-holders contributions is one alternative.”

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