Subi shops fall like flies in rent squeeze

Long-time businesses Birds of Passage, Emporia, Toy World and Bella B Wear Intimates recently closed.

The Jewellery Lounge has a “for lease” sign in its window.

Hay Street restaurants Subidoo and Aisuru Sushi also recently closed.

It has been a year since Bistro des Artistes owner and chef Alain Fabregues painted ‘Subiaco is not Paris or London – $1000 per square metre is unacceptable’ on his Hay Street restaurant windows in protest against the rent increasing by 66 per cent.

Across the road, Fly Home closed down in November last year after its sale fell through at the last minute.

In January 2015, owner Tess Lyon said she was “barely keeping her head above water” paying $1072/sq m.

“I have been appealing to my landlord for six months and there is absolutely zero negotiation; you either pay up or pay to get out of your lease,” Ms Lyon said.

The owner of a gift and home decor shop on Rokeby Road, who asked not to be named, said the number of empty shops was alarming.

“One by one, all the small operators running interesting and quirky shops that drew people into Subiaco have been forced to close due to the sheer greed of landlords raising the rent to an unacceptable and unreachable level,” she said.

“The only shops that survive these unrealistic rental rates are the multi-nationals and the banks, which are everywhere else in the metropolitan centres, therefore making Subiaco just another boring shopping area.

“It seems the landlords would rather have an empty shop than reduce their rent, even if only temporarily to meet the current market downturn.

“Many of us have had to sell personal assets just to cover the rent and keep afloat.”

Chokeby Road, Venn Property Group and some short-term retail tenants recently left Rokeby Road.

Transit has a “for lease” sign in its window.

West Perth Chokeby Road owner Davina Zavaroni said her business would continue to operate as usual.

“Production has not closed, so everything you could get at the Rokeby Road store, I can order in,” Ms Zavaroni said.

Emporia is expected to open at its new 271 Rokeby Road location this month. Toy World has moved to its original location on Seddon Street.

Update: The original article included that Floors Natural was moving out of Hay Street.

Due to a rent renegotiation with its landlord following publication, the business will now stay in its original location.