In Sydney areas including Burwood, Hurstville, Chatswood and the city, including Chinatown and the new Darling Square, trading is down between 50 and 90 per cent. Even for a landlord to reduce rents in these areas will not save the retailer.
Jennifer Du, owner of the Taste of Shanghai restaurant group that includes LiLong and Malabang, says she has never the Asian community so scared to go to restaurants which have primarily Asian customers.
Henry Tang, owner of Zilver and The Eight Yum Cha restaurants, agrees with Jennifer Du and adds that students and tourists are also avoiding Asian areas and restaurants. He adds that if the current events stay as is or worsen, more restaurants will have to close their doors.
After one of the worst retail years – with closure of numerous retail fashion chains, and then the disastrous bushfires, the question remains: what is going to happen within the restaurant marketplace?
Sydney food courts are also feeling the pinch from lack of business; my retailers tell me they are trading down some 50 per cent.
If landlords cannot also step in to absorb some of these losses, are they prepared to see the vacancy factor within this sector skyrocket?
All these successful business people have worked tirelessly for many years to ensure growth of a chain, and currently these businesses will not be able to exist in the short term. This may kill many of our favourite restaurants in the very short term.
I also have been informed that the second wave may be the clothing sector, as many fashion retailers rely on Chinese factories for the stock. These factories have not re-opened and may take many months to re-establish steady supplies.
Lawrence Brown has been in the shopping centre and retail industry for nearly 40 years as a leasing specialist and established CRS Pty Ltd in 1994.