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Harris Scarfe seeks inner city presence

PERTH continues to grow in stature among eastern state and international retail traders with Adelaide-based department store chain Harris Scare being the latest company negotiating to enter the CBD.

Harris Scarfe chief financial officer Alan Hodgson said the company was speaking to several Perth developers to find a suitable location for a 6,000 square metre store.

With David Jones and Woolworths committing to the city and Coles Myer negotiating with Saracen Properties to expand its Perth presence, there is renewed optimism in the future of inner city trading.

But the amount of premium retail space is fast disappearing, meaning the pressure is on those hoping to establish a CBD presence.

Saracen Properties principal Luke Saraceni said he was not privy to negotiations with Harris Scarfe but believed there were only two or three sites that would be large enough for a Harris Scarfe store within the prime location on the Murray or Hay Street malls.

Mr Saraceni said the company would be looking at a property of at least 3,500 square metres.

He said he was very excited by the idea of another large anchor tenant that would draw customers into the area.

Mr Saraceni said the redevelopment of the Perth central Post Office and the Commonwealth Bank buildings into retail stores would also help make the city more vibrant.

But he believed it could be almost a decade before the Government had the will to sell the buildings.

Mr Hodgson said Harris Scarfe was very bullish about the company’s prospects in WA. In the past 18 months it opened new stores in Carousel and Peppermint Grove.

It is also talking with the owners of Whitfords City about the possibility of opening a store there.

Within the next two years Mr Hodgson envisages doubling the number of stores to 12 so that it would be possible to embark on a stronger blanket marketing campaign in the State.

Harris Scarfe first entered the WA market about five years ago when the Stirling stores in Bunbury, Albany and Geraldton became available.

Nationally the company has almost 40 stores.

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