A LONGTIME tenant at The Shops at Ellenbrook says she has no option but to shut her shop when her lease expires because of rent increases and a tough retail climate.
Health food shop owner Divera Black will close the doors to Goodlife in February after 11 years of trading at the centre.
The naturopath and nutritionist said high rent and low trade had left her with no other option but to work from home.
“The rent has gone up significantly and the trade here in Ellenbrook has dropped significantly,” she said.
“It’s not viable for me to stay here.”
Ms Black said rent at the centre had increased by 20 to 40 per cent since Vicinity Centres, which manages 90 centres nationwide, took over from the Insurance Commission of WA in December last year.
“When I first opened here there was only one beauty salon in the centre,” she said.
“But now there’s an extra four or five and there just isn’t the trade to have that many.”
However, a spokesman for Vicinity Centres said while he could not comment on whether rent had increased, his understanding was that the centre was flourishing.
“The centre is approaching full capacity for the first time since it was built,” he said.
Ms Black said she acknowledged tough times were also to blame for low profit margins.
“It dropped when Sunday trade came in, as well as the downturn in the mining boom which has played a significant part,” she said.
“But maybe they (Vicinity) need to look at why are they extending and putting in more shops, rather than letting those existing businesses make a good income.”
Another nearby trader, who did not want to be named, said he was operating at a loss every day.
“It’s ruining lives. People have got mortgages to pay, families to feed, and they’re just charging whatever they want for rent,” he said.
Ms Black said she was lucky to be able to move to home sales, unlike many other businesses, but closing down meant her two staff would be left unemployed.
“I’ll be doing internet sales with free deliveries in the area,” she said.
“You don’t get the turnover you would if you were in a shopping centre, but the profit margin should be a lot higher without having to put staff on and pay rent and all the insurances.
“It’s my only choice.”