Subiaco: Rokeby Road business owners optimistic despite increase in empty shop space in 2018

Bistro Felix waitress Mathilde Sarazin. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au   d489893a
Bistro Felix waitress Mathilde Sarazin. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d489893a

SUBIACO business owners along Rokeby Road are optimistic for this year’s retail turn-over despite shop vacancy numbers almost tripling in mid-2018.

A Ray White Commercial Perth Retail Strips 2018 report found the strip had “taken a turn for the worse” and experienced the most change out of five surveyed areas in Perth over a 15 month period.

The report found empty shop space had increased to 15.19 per cent in August 2018 after a recorded 5.94 per cent in June 2017 – a result of business closures along the street and relocations.

City of Subiaco Mayor Penny Taylor said of the 112 properties on the Rokeby Road retail strip, only six were empty over the Christmas period and two vacancies were due to business operators moving to larger premises in Subiaco.

Room for Two owner Pauline Meecham set up shop on Rokeby Road in May 2018 and was previously located on Barker Road.

“Business was a slow progress but I think in about October and November last year, we were getting the first hints that, yes, people were starting to pack into Subiaco,” Ms Meecham said.

“I think from this month, the way it is looking, we will probably pass what we were initially making.”

Bistro Felix owner Jeremy Cariss, who has been in business for 13 years, said he was not surprised by the figures and hoped business would improve in 2019.

Table Culture co-owner Emma McCarthy, who has run her business on Rokeby Road for 14 years, said the report’s findings were no shock but she was optimistic for 2019.

“There have been a few macro factors impacting retail over the past two years, including the contracting WA economy and shift in consumer spending,” she said.

“There has been a lot of support from the City over the last 18 months with initiatives that help make doing business in Subiaco more efficient.

Ray White Commercial WA Director Brett Wilkins said there was hope on the horizon, as the real-estate company conducted another survey in mid-December 2018 restricted to the Rokeby Road strip which found vacancy had reduced to nine per cent.