Dylan Thorne

Dylan is the deputy editor of the Bay of Plenty Times.

Editorial: Getting in line to support retailers

2 comments


Bay retailers are certainly doing it tough.

And it seems shoppers could be doing a little bit more to help by taking a more measured approach to how they shop.

Yesterday the Bay of Plenty Times reported that the developer who had signed up for plans to build a an internationally-branded $38 million hotel in downtown Tauranga had decided to walk away from the project because the economics no longer stacked up.

The hotel, planned to have been built on land opposite Baycourt in Durham St, was one of the key planks of the plan to reinvigorate the city centre, along with redeveloping The Strand waterfront.

The project is now in limbo with the council due to hold a special meeting next month on how it can try to breathe new life back into the project. The fact it has now been placed on ice is another blow for the city's already struggling retail sector, which City Centre project manager Duarne Lankshear describes as going through "an extraordinarily hard time".

One of the key drivers for the hard times has been attributed to internet shopping and the economic times putting pressure on discretionary spending.

We're told that some retailers feel like a "sampling emporium," for people who go into shops only to check out products that they intended to buy online.

This must be soul-destroying for retailers who pay to have a store front.

To me, the pressure being placed on local retailers by online shopping is deeply concerning.

Many things make up a community.

But one of its most important features is a vibrant town centre.

Personally, I avoid shopping online because of the impact it has on local retailers.

Sure, I might be able to grab a bargain every once in a while but its nice to think that the money you spend is staying in the local economy rather than heading out of the region or - worse still- overseas.

It's true that businesses need to adapt to changes in commerce - and some have already closed their stores to take their business online- but that does not mean that local retailers no longer need our support or, in turn, that we no longer need town centres.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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