Gladstone businesses hold on amid report's worrying findings
A RECENT report warns Gladstone's retail sector is destined for more troubling times.
But some Gladstone businesses are not convinced it's all doom and gloom.
The August Herron Todd White report said Gladstone's retail market continued to struggle and noted recent store closures including Target Country.
Saltt Clothing owner Lynette Morgan, who this year is celebrating 10 years in business, said it was possible to keep the doors open during challenging times.
Located in the mostly vacant Nightowl Centre, Ms Morgan said each year in business had been different and it was important to adapt.
This year Ms Morgan has focused on formal dresses and accessories, and marketing the store as a place where graduates can buy their whole outfits.
"That's what I've been trying to do, more prom dresses, and I think our sales this year have been higher than any other year," Ms Morgan said.
While she said recent years were tough, she wasn't convinced Gladstone was the only region to suffer the downturn.
"Someone put it pretty well to me recently. They said, 'we were sipping champagne for three years while everyone else was drinking beer. Now we're drinking beer with the rest of the country'," Ms Morgan said.
On its national property clock, Herron Todd White placed Gladstone's retail sector as approaching the bottom of the market.
It said the economic downturn hurt local retailers and larger players in the sector.
"We have seen this more recently with closures of national stores such as Target Country and increasing vacancies within retail centres," it said.
"Rental affordability continues to be key for tenants and centres that demand unaffordable rentals are consequently experiencing high vacancies."
It noted two recent commercial sales: Gladstone Central Shopping Centre (Gladstone Nigthowl Centre) which sold for $20million last month and the Autobarn tenanted property at Dawson Rd, which sold for $1.457million in May.
Ms Morgan said she felt confident in the new owners and said they were focused on filling the empty stores.
"Obviously it's going to take time," she said.