Convenience stores target CBD

THE Perth CBD could be home to at least 13 convenience stores by 2005.

Sydney-based City Convenience Stores already has three stores – at the north east corner of Barrack and Murray streets, at the north east corner of Hay and Milligan streets and at 2 St Georges Terrace – and a further two under construction on William Street, Perth and in Northbridge.

City Convenience Stores director Duarte Cristovao said the operation’s main competitor in the CBD convenience store market was the Caltex franchise Star Mart, which had two stores – minus the petrol pumps – in the CBD.

One is next to Wesley Church and the other near His Majesty’s Theatre.

Those Star Marts also have a Deli France franchise attached.

There are also a couple of independent operators within the CBD, however Mr Cristovao dismissed the level of competition they offered.

He said the company planned to have 10 stores in Perth within two years, the bulk of them within the CBD.

“We noted that Perth is a growing city and more and more residents are moving into the city,” Mr Cristovao said.

“A year ago we decided to go national so we’ve targeted Melbourne and Perth.”

City Convenience Stores planned to have 100 stores around Australia within the next three years, he said.

It already has 14 in the Sydney CBD.

Mr Cristovao said the Perth outlets would be run by independent franchisees.

It is understood the company owns several of its Sydney stores.

However, Tony Chua, who runs the two Star Marts in the CBD, said the CBD convenience store market was “already slightly oversaturated”.

“To be honest I don’t think there is enough room for it [the City Convenience Stores expansion] but it’s how they perceive it,” he said.

“It’s not their money that’s at stake. It’s their franchisees’.”

Inner City Housing Development Association president Laurance Good-man said it was unlikely the convenience stores could get by on local residents alone.

“They need to attract people. They need a lot of passing trade. Those in the busy positions will perhaps be successful,” he said.

Mr Goodman said convenience stores also brought problems for nearby residents because of the amount of traffic they attracted.

City of Perth CEO Frank Edwards said most of the convenience stores opening up within the CBD were located in premises already approved for retail purposes.

“The trend for the establishment of these stores is considered to be a positive development,” he said.

“Public surveys undertaken in the city demonstrate that there has been dissatisfaction among city residents at the lack of local convenience shopping outlets, and these stores provide some small assistance in this regard and complement supermarkets.”

Caltex franchise support manager Ross Bohan said Caltex had no plans to expand its Star Mart presence in the CBD.

Besides its two offerings in Perth, Caltex had one stand-alone Star Mart in the Brisbane CBD, he told WA Business News.

“We did have another one in Melbourne but we closed that,” Mr Bohan said.

City Convenience Stores has been running stores for the past nine years.  For the past two years it has operated as an unlisted public company. Other directors are company founder Jamal Gebara and son, Mohamed.

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