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Council denies marketing plan

CITY retailers have been unsuccessful in their push to take control of the promotion of the city as a shopping destination, but have been somewhat sated by an alternative proposal by the City of Perth.

In a submission to the City of Perth, the Perth CBD Retail Sector Steering Committee proposed the city retail precinct be marketed and managed by an independent body, in a similar style to that undertaken by major suburban shopping centres.

Under the plan, the City of Perth was asked to give up the role and contribute $1.3 million to the new body from its own coffers, as well as raising an additional $700,000 from retailers through a special area rate.

At its final meeting for the year, the council rejected these suggestions but instead voted to consider an increased retail marketing budget, a joint-venture marketing program with the committee and the establishment of a retail liaison position.

The council also will develop the City Marketing Plan in consultation with retailers.

The council also noted it was not legally possible to increase the rates of retailers alone and that a levy could only be imposed on a geographical location.

Committee chairman Brian Armstrong, from the ING group, which holds a half share in Forrest Chase, said the proposal did not deliver all that was requested, but the committee was prepared to work with the council.

“It certainly does not give us all that we wanted. We are disappointed that stakeholders will not be able to take control of the retail sector, but we are now looking to work with the council,” he said.

“We are happy they are looking at extra funds and employing a person dedicated to retail. They will also liaise with the steering committee in preparing the City Marketing Plan and we will work with them to successfully promote the city’s retail sector.”

Mr Armstrong said the marketing program needed to promote the city’s point of difference.

“There are a number of shops that are unique to the city and there is a whole shopping experience that is also unique to the city,” he said.

WA Retailers Association chief executive officer Martin Dempsey, also a committee member, said he was looking forward to working with the council to boost the city’s retail profile.

“I look forward to forging a constructive relationship with the council and working closer with them to develop a year-long marketing campaign, and not one that just focuses on Christmas and cultural events,” Mr Dempsey said.

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