Bunnings and Officeworks could downsize stores after pandemic

Bunnings and Officeworks could ditch warehouse outlets and shift to smaller city stores in the aftermath of COVID-19, commercial property agents predict.

CBRE retail services director Zelman Ainsworth said businesses were looking for “less bricks and mortar” to reduce operating costs in the future.

He said retailers would not go “back to an inefficient way of working”, which would change the commercial market landscape.

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Bunnings could downsize in the future, commercial agents predict.

“Larger retailers in the inner city are looking for smaller format metro stores … places like Bunnings, Woolworths, Coles and Officeworks,” Mr Ainsworth said.

“There’s a real push from tenants to lease spaces which already have existing fit-outs, so there’s less costs involved.”

A Bunnings spokeswoman told the Sunday Herald Sun there were no plans to relocate any stores or open up boutique shopping outlets.

But the hardware retailer does have plans to be part of an upcoming luxury Mercure hotel in Doncaster.

Artist’s impression of the Mercure Hotel and Bunnings Warehouse development in Doncaster. Picture: Supplied.

“We are always looking at opportunities to innovate the design of our stores and we have a number of different formats that cater for the local markets where we operate,” Bunnings’ acting general manager of property Garry James previously told Leader.

Full Circle Property Buyers director Rob German said customers of all ages would opt to shop online even after the pandemic, which would encourage businesses to downsize shop space.

He said there would be a shift of retailers moving to smaller shops in the same suburb they already operate.

Melbourne’s commercial real estate market is set to change dramatically. Picture: Michael Dodge

But there would still be a place for warehouses and factory spaces in the future.

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“Factories and warehouses are becoming popular again, as they’re places that online shops can hold their stock,” Mr German said.

“People also want to buy more Australian-made products, which could help manufacturers and add demand to warehouses too.”

9 Biddy Court, Moorabbin was leased by an online produce supplier.

Home produce company Urban Farm is one business capitalising on consumer behaviour changes.

They recently leased a Moorabbin warehouse to store their fruits and vegetables, after recording some of the largest sales growth in Australia via their online platform.

The property at 9 Biddy Court will stock some of the company’s hardier produce like potatoes, carrots and onions.

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