According to the Urbis Australian Shopping Centre Industry report (August 2015) there were 1,753 shopping centres in Australia which exceeded 1,000 square metres of gross lettable area (GLA). These comprised:

  • 67 Regional shopping centres (i.e. those that include at least one department store);
  • 286 Sub Regional centres (i.e. those that include at least one discount department store as the major anchor tenant);
  • 1,104 Neighbourhood or supermarket-based shopping centres (i.e. those that include at least one supermarket as the major anchor tenant); and
  • 107 CBD centres.

This number also includes 189 factory outlet centres and themed centres which are often categorised as shopping centres because they have adopted the shopping centre format (that is, usually a single, enclosed centre which houses a number of retailers). Note: This data excludes Homemaker/Large Format Retail centres.

These shopping centres contain more than 65,000 speciality shops. The advantage for retailers who lease space in shopping centres is that customer foot traffic can be much higher and more concentrated than in other retail locations. Leasehold also has the advantage that retailers don’t have to utilise capital to buy freehold, thereby reducing their property risk. This means the real estate risk is being carried by the investors in the shopping centre, not by the retailer.

Australian shopping centres contain around 18.7 million square metres of GLA, which accounts for around 37 per cent of the total retail space in Australia. This equates to approximately 94 square metres of GLA per 100 people in Australia, which is relatively high by world standards although not as high as in the USA and Canada. Below is a table of selected comparable markets:

 

Country Market Size Population sq m of GLA
(million sq m) (million) per 100 Persons
USA 698.1 318.9 219
Canada 50.3 35.3 143
Australia 22.2 23.6 94
Singapore 2.8 5.2 54
New Zealand 2.2 4.4 50
United Kingdom 28 64.3 44
Japan 46.4 127.5 36
France 23.6 66.3 36
Germany 17.7 81.1 22
Source: ICSC Research – latest available Country Fact Sheet for each country.

Regional shopping centres contain around one quarter (26 per cent) of the total shopping centre space; Sub Regional centres contain 34 per cent; Neighbourhood centres hold 31 per cent; and CBD centres contain 4 per cent.

According to the Urbis report, for the 12 months ending June 2014, total retail sales made through Australian shopping centres was estimated to be $120 billion, which was equivalent to 7.7 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product.

As at February 2016, 10.9 per cent of the Australian workforce was employed by the ‘Retail Trade’ sector and approximately two thirds of these were employed in shopping centres. ‘Retail Trade’ is the second highest contributor to employment in Australia after the ‘Health Care and Social Assistance’ sector (12.7 per cent).

According to the publication SCN (Shopping Centre News), the five largest shopping centres in the year to December 2015 by moving annual turnover were:

  • Chadstone (Melbourne) $1.451 billion (154,218 sq m GLA)
  • Westfield Sydney (Sydney) $1.083 billion (167,660 sq m GLA)
  • Westfield Bondi Junction (Sydney) $1.043 billion (129,936 sq m GLA)
  • Westfield Fountain Gate (Melbourne) $990.2 million (178,131 sq m GLA)
  • Highpoint Shopping Centre (Melbourne) $967.9 million (152,654 sq m GLA)

The five largest shopping centre owners, by total GLA, are:

  • Scentre Group (owner and manager of Westfield centres in Australia): 2.5 million sq m;
  • Vicinity Centres: 2.1 million sq m;
  • Stockland: 920,000 sq m;
  • QIC: 884,000 sq m;
  • The GPT Group: 803,000 sq m.

Updated March 2016.

Data Sources: SCCA Research, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Shopping Centre News, Urbis