Author Archives: PineProperty

How to craft your personal brand and how it impacts your reputation

While most people consider how their reputation impacts their path through life, less common is people considering the importance of their personal brand.

Your personal brand is the image, identity, strengths and characteristics by which you wish to be known, and is defined by consciously crafting that image among your community and peers.

This differs from your reputation which is the actual perception that people have of you based on their – and others – experiences and interactions with you.

When you are considering your personal brand, you should also assess how it might impact your reputation, as your personal brand helps shape how others perceive you. In fact, the two combined are one of the most significant influences on the success of your personal and professional life.

First Impressions and Personal Brand:

First impressions, where your reputation does not precede you, is one of the most critical ways your personal brand can influence your success.

Within only a few seconds, people will make judgments about your competence, confidence, professionalism, trustworthiness, and social status. And if you make the wrong first impression it will be difficult to change.

However, with a personal brand that has considered how you would like to portray these and other attributes as part of your first impression, you will be far less likely to make a bad one.

How To Shape Your Personal Brand

Set Goals: As with almost everything in life, what you want your personal brand to represent comes back to your goals. Those looking to excel in the corporate world will have a completely different personal brand to an aspiring professional surfer. Once you have defined your goals, you can start to shape your personal brand around those goals.

Map Your Current Personal Brand: Next you should clearly identify what your current brand projects. Identify your strengths, weaknesses, values and qualities and then consider how to bring these into your personal brand – in relation to your goals.

Physical Appearance: Your physical appearance is one of the most important factors of your personal brand and ties directly with people’s first impression. How you dress, your grooming, style and body language are all powerful branding signals.

Body Language: Your body language is directly correlated with your physical appearance. How you stand, walk or sit, your facial expressions, gestures, all impact your brand and how you are perceived.

Online Presence: Social and digital media has provided incredible opportunities for shaping your personal brand. Ensure clear, concise and well presented information is presented across all channels.

Networking: Actively engage with your communities and peers across both digital and offline channels. Join events, clubs, online forums and channels and add value to conversations around areas of interest or your specialty.

Consistency: Branding – whether business or personal – is about message consistency and repetition. Mixed messages will cloud and confuse your personal brand.

Seek Feedback: Ask trusted people whether your personal brand reflects what you wish to project, and respond positively to criticism and feedback.

Guide to Funding a New Business or Franchise

How you approach funding for a new business venture is critical to its success, with important considerations around working capital, loan security, cashflow forecasts and loan structure. If you are experienced in business you will be familiar with these requirements and the importance of a robust business plan.

However if you are new to business, this may feel a little daunting, especially if you are considering putting up your house as collateral on a business loan.

With the survival rate for new businesses sitting at around 41.5%, you are right to be cautious, however the significant rewards of owning a business will continue to attract new operators.

One way to potentially lower the risk is by buying into a reputable franchise with proven systems and processes to help you succeed. This may also increase your chances of securing funding due to some franchise brands having pre-approved accreditation with lenders.

Franchise Business

Despite some of the negative publicity in the media over the years, Australia’s franchise sector is one of the most regulated in the world, according to Dan Toms. co-director of Franchise and SME Lending Specialists – CFI Finance.

While starting a franchise business does not guarantee success, partnering with the right brand may increase the likelihood of your business succeeding by helping you navigate the common pitfalls, and structure your business and finance for success.

Toms says that prospective franchisees should scrutinise the franchise disclosure document where they can see how many sites have ceased to trade over the last three years, along with franchisee contact details.

“Reach out to other franchisees to discuss their experience, ask what they like about the network and what they don’t,” he suggests.

How Funding a Franchise Differs

While lender finance products for franchises do not differ, many franchise brands have accreditations in place with banks and other lenders which provides streamlined access to funding, reduced paperwork, and often better interest rates, according to Toms.

Whatever the business you are planning, he says you should ensure you understand all the costs involved – also known as turnkey costs.

“People can overlook costs such as a landlord bond or bank guarantee, legal fees, stock and working capital,” he said, adding that other cost considerations include accounting, marketing, your shopfit, vehicles and business support.

The working capital you require will depend on the type of business and how long it takes to reach break even.

“Some businesses such as gyms that offer pre-sale memberships can be cashflow positive from day one. Other businesses take time for the marketing initiatives to take effect and a customer base to be built.”

“Any new business should also have a cashflow forecast with realistic expectations for sales and expenses. Most lenders will be able to provide you with a cashflow forecast template,” Toms said.

Securing Your Business Funding: “The 5 Cs of Credit”

Before committing to any franchise or lease agreement, Toms says you should first secure your funding with a loan availability period of around three months, which will give confidence to the applicant, franchisor and landlord.

“Funding your business is the most important step and will influence you entire business journey, and potentially mean the difference between success and failure,” Toms said.

He described the “5 Cs of Credit” that lenders will use as a baseline for whether they will approve your loan, and how much they are prepared to lend:

Character: This refers to the applicant’s credit report and credit score. How likely is the applicant to repay the loan?
Capacity: Can the proposed loan be serviced? Another reason why a cashflow forecast is required.
● Capital: What savings does the applicant/business have to put towards the project?
● Collateral: What security is available to secure the loan, such as equipment, property, or a guarantee from another entity.
● Conditions: Are there any market conditions that may affect the business? These can be macro such as the broader economy or more granular that only affect a particular brand, industry or location.

Types of Business Finance

“If a business is starting out then it is common that we would generally recommend a business loan,” Toms said, adding that CFI Finance also offer leases and cashflow lending.

“A business loan is a fixed term loan between three and five years where the interest rate is also fixed for the term of the loan. This type of loan also allows maximum flexibility on how funds are used, rather than lending being tied to equipment.”

Whatever business you start, due diligence around funding, finance and cashflow is critical. Ensure you have the buffer to ride through any troughs, and consider partnering with a reputable franchise to help you navigate the process.

The Conscious Closet

In the last couple of decades, fast fashion has dominated our wardrobes. A consistent flow of mass produced, lower quality items , turning popular fashion into cheap options for the ‘every day’ consumer as trends come and go.

Now, the second-hand clothing market is the new fashion trend taking the world by storm.

While there was a time when second hand shopping was nothing to be proud of, second-hand fashion is no longer taboo. Now every kind of Gen (XYZ+) shopper is turning to the second hand market, spurred by a  desire to help the environment and find alternative looks to fast fashion.  

The world of thrifting is large and growing. According to thredUP 2023 Resale Report – which is a second-hand online store based in the United States – the global second-hand market is expected to nearly double by 2027, reaching US$350 billion.

“I got it at Vinnies, ‘’Old Faves New Life’ and ‘New to Who’ are just some of the recent advertising campaigns that have been executed by traditional charity thrift shops Vinnie’s and The Salvos to help modernise their image and offering to a younger mainstream market. 

So, why is slow fashion coming of age? Here are five key reasons:

  1. Affordability – You can actually ‘upgrade’ your wardrobe with high quality and designer items at significantly reduced prices.
  2. Unique Style & Individuality – Finding one-of-a-kind pieces that allow individuals to express their personal style away from mass-produced, mainstream fashion.
  3. Quality – Pre-loved fashion, in particular vintage clothing, is often well-made and durable, standing the test of time.
  4. Supporting Local – Second hand shops are often small businesses or non-profits so purchasing from them helps your immediate community.
  5. Social Media Influence – Fashion bloggers and influencers play a significant role in inspiring pre-loved fashion. They showcase their thrift finds, vintage pieces and unique styling ideas to their followers, demonstrating that sustainable fashion can be stylish and on trend. 

But perhaps the most important element of the growth of the second hand market is sustainability. As consumers become more aware of the social and environmental impacts of the fashion industry, shoppers are opting for a greener alternative. Buying pre-loved clothing assists in the breakdown of the fast fashion pipeline from retailer to consumer to landfill.

Increasing the re-use of clothing is a big step toward a new normal in the fashion industry. Are you ready to join the sustainable fashion movement?

Do you love to thrift local?

Op for Change @op.for.change

Reseller @resellerstoreau

Sammy & Sid @sammyandsid

Lifeline Manly @lifelinemanly

Red Cross Manly @redcrossmanly

Vinnies Manly @vinniesnsw

Sale Lab @salelabstore

Sustainable Practices for Small Business

Environmental sustainability has become a major focus for small businesses and consumers. While it may seem overwhelming adding energy efficiency to a business owners’ plate, integrating sustainability into your business model is imperative.

But, small business owners are time poor and need practical sustainability solutions that can be incorporated into their businesses easily, with minimal effort and time.

So how can they make the shift?

We’ve looked at 10 ways that small businesses can start to become more sustainable;

  • Energy Efficiency – Implement energy saving practices such as switching to ELD lighting and turning off equipment when not in use. Consider investing in energy efficient appliances and encourage employees to conserve energy by powering down computers and other electronics when not needed.
  • Waste Reduction and Recycling – Set up a recycling program within your business and provided clearly labelled bins for paper, plastic & glass and other recyclable materials. Encourage employees to reduce waste by using digital documents instead of printing, promoting reusable containers for lunches and coffees and considering eco-friendly packaging options for products.
  • Support Local and Sustainable Suppliers – Prioritise working with local suppliers who share your commitment to sustainability. Look for vendors with eco-friendly products, use sustainable materials and practice ethical manufacturing processes.
  • Water Conservation – Install water saving fixtures such as low-flow toilets, faucets and showerheads. Regularly check for and repair any leaks or water wastage and educate employees about conservation practices.
  • Transportation and Commuting – Encourage employees to carpool, use public transportation or bike to work. If feasible, consider using electric or hybrid vehicles for business operations.
  • Sustainable Packaging – Evaluate your packaging materials and explore eco-friendly alternatives. Use recyclable or biodegradable packaging options and minimise excess packaging.
  • Collaboration and Engagement – Engage employees in sustainability efforts by creating a green team or sustainability committee. Encourage employee input, ideas, and initiatives to promote a culture of sustainability within the business.
  • Education and Awareness – Provide training and educations resources to staff about sustainability practices. Keep them informed about the company’s sustainability goals and progress. Educate customers and stakeholders about your sustainable practice and the benefits of supporting environmentally responsible businesses.
  • Engage with your community – Participate in local sustainability initiatives, sponsor environmentally focused events, and collaborate with other businesses to promote sustainability collectively.
  • Communicate your efforts – Share your sustainability journey with your customers, suppliers and the community. Seek feedback from employees, customers and stakeholders to identify areas for improvement and innovation.

Sustainability is an ongoing process but if every business implemented just a few of these ideas it could make a considerable difference to the environment. By implementing these steps, small businesses can contribute to a more sustainable future whilst also lead to cost savings, improved brand reputation and increased customer loyalty. 

Northern Beaches Business Reviews

Guide to Getting Positive Online Reviews – A Critical Business Tool

Business reviews have a huge influence on people’s purchasing decisions and are one of the most important marketing considerations for Manly and Northern Beaches businesses.

And if you are a customer wanting to support a local business, giving them a positive review on their preferred review platform is one of the most powerful things you can do to help them succeed.

The Data on Reviews

Seventy six per cent of consumers regularly read online reviews when browsing for local businesses, with Google being the most widespread and trusted review platform across all industries, according to 2023 published research from Brightlocal,

While positive reviews can encourage a prospective purchase, even a few negative reviews can be enough to harm a business’s reputation and dissuade potential new customers, particularly among female audiences.

Research in 2022 on the impact of online reviews on consumers’ purchasing decisions used eye-tracking technology as a key measure and found that “consumers’ attention to negative comments was significantly greater than that to positive comments, especially for female consumers.”.

Ways to Get Positive Reviews

While some consumers may leave a review if they have a particularly positive (or negative) experience, the best way to drive positive reviews in your business is to actively ask for them.

This can be done at point of sale, through email automation, on social media, or even in printed communications.

You can also encourage reviews by offering discounts on future purchases, or with a competition.

Proactively asking for reviews can also help identify disgruntled customers and stop a negative review altogether. For example, your request for a review could read:

We hope you had a wonderful experience when buying “X” product/service. If you are happy with your purchase, we would greatly appreciate a 5-star Google Review here. If for any reason you do not feel our service warrants a 5-star review, please help us resolve it by contacting 

How to Handle Negative Reviews

Despite your best efforts, negative reviews may still occur, however you can minimise their impact.

Firstly, promptly, politely and publicly respond to the negative review, no matter how unreasonable it may be. This shows that your business takes customer feedback seriously and is willing to address the issue.

Ensure you present the reviewer with direct communication channels to try and resolve their issue and take correspondence out of the public eye.

Also consider offering a refund or replacement. Even if you feel the negative review is not warranted, this approach may turn a negative experience into a positive one and potentially retain the customer’s loyalty. Also consider what it is worth for that negative review to potentially be removed.

Monitor and Respond to All Reviews and Comments

Businesses should regularly monitor all relevant review sites, social media, and other communication channels, and respond to all reviews and comments.

Most popular review sites:

  • Google My Business: the most trusted review platform across all industries – 87 per cent of consumers used Google to evaluate local businesses in 2022.
  • Facebook: carry less weight than Google, however page activity and customer interaction on posts is a relevant and widely used measure.
  • TripAdvisor: Travel, hospitality and experience-based business reviews.
  • Product Review: Widely used all-purpose review site.

There are many other industry-specific review sites that may be relevant to your business and industry. Outside of standard review platforms: 35 per cent of consumers use YouTube to find information about local businesses, 32 per cent use Instagram, 20 per cent use TikTok, and 35 per cent of consumers consult their local news, according to the BrightLocal research.

Alex Anthem Cycles Running a Successful Gym or Fitness Studio

7 Strategies for Running a Successful Gym or Fitness Business

The Australian fitness industry generates around AU$3 billion dollars a year, presenting a huge business opportunity for smart operators.

However, there is also huge competition, with gyms and fitness centres on every corner. So what do successful operators do that sees them stand out from the crowd?

To find out, Pine Property spoke with Alex Jaques, founder and director of Manly’s overnight sensation, ANTHEMCYCLE    

Originally from Washington DC, Alex has spent over a decade working in American sports and event production, including with the NHL, MLB and the Olympics.

Upon moving to Australia, Alex could not find an Australian equivalent to a “Rhythm Ride” class in the US, which combines music, energy and community in a 45-minute full-body workout on a stationary bike.

Despite opening only days after the November 2021 COVID lockdown, ANTHEMCYCLE has boomed. Here are nine key factors that Alex says have been integral to her success.

1. Passion and Perspective: A unique or powerful concept like ANTHEMCYCLE might help get peoples’ attention, however, a concept is nothing without the passion to deliver customers a great experience, Alex says.

“Whether it is a pilates studio or a cafe, If you have a product or service that people want, have an interesting perspective, and are truly passionate about it, people will come.”

This requirement for passion extends to all staff and instructors in the business.

“All of our instructors are trained in Rhythm Ride, but the most important thing they have is the energy they present to the customer,” she said, adding that customers will happily forgive mistakes, but will not forgive a lack of warmth, energy and passion.

2. Culture and Community: Creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all clients – regardless of experience level – is essential to building a loyal fitness following, Alex says.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s your first ride or your thousandth ride, we leave our egos at the door. As long as you do it with a smile on your face then we have done our job.”

For ANTHEMCYCLE, music plays such a big part in this. “Music is very powerful. It can change your mood. It can motivate you. People come in and connect with their type of music, their instructor, and their people, and our classes feel more like they are at a party.

3. Location: Alex credits a lot of ANTHEMCYCLE’s success to her high-visibility retail-front location in the heart of Manly that sees high foot traffic.

“I think a fitness studio should be visible and inviting with pumping music, while retaining the privacy of customers and delivering an element of mystery,” she says.

“You can see out into our studio space but once the door is shut, you have no idea what’s happening in that room, and it makes people curious to come check it out and try a class.”

Alex Jaques, founder and director of Manly’s overnight sensation, ANTHEMCYCLE

4. Expanding and Franchising: While Alex does plan to open more ANTHEMCYCLE studios, she cautions against expanding too quickly if your brand is still developing.

“When I do expand it will be in-house first while we solidify the brand, messaging and process of engaging with customers. Once we have well-defined systems from our first few studios, we may then look at franchising opportunities.”

5. Technology & Fitness: Alex says that people love a high-quality digital experience, and that has been core to ANTHEMCYCLE’s offering, with premium sound, studio lighting, and rhythm ride specific stationary bikes.

She also encourages the use of booking technology and automation and uses the MindBody booking application and suite of automation tools.

6. Marketing – Word of Mouth Reigns Supreme: While ANTHEMCYCLE has always invested in targeted advertising on Facebook, Instagram and more recently Google Ads, Alex says the best marketing is still word of mouth from people who love your product, passion and culture.

She adds that a formal referral program will help drive word of mouth, as will a high-visibility street-front location.

7. Don’t Procrastinate: Having started ANTHEMCYCLE in the middle of COVID, Alex says there is never be a perfect time for you to start a passion project    

“If you are truly passionate and you believe there is a market for your product or service, just go for it. Create a plan, take action and dive in”!


Brookvale Structure Plan: Council Must Conserve Culture and Creativity

In recent years we have seen Brookvale transform into a thriving creative and community hub, however there are widespread concerns that the coming 2023 Brookvale Structure Plan will undermine this.

Brookie’s boom in breweries, coffee roasters, surf manufacturers, industrial designers and artists has revitalised the suburb and been a blessing for local residents and businesses alike. 

The businesses – often attracted to Brookvale’s larger spaces, affordable rents, and gritty, industrial aesthetic – have created a strong community that fosters collaboration, idea-sharing, and mutual support. 

Their combined success has been aided by the Brookvale Arts District (BAD), an organisation created to maintain and enhance Brookvale’s existing creative and industrial fabric.

However, with Northern Beaches Council 2023 Brookvale Structure Plan proposing 1300 new apartments in buildings of up to 12 stories, there are widespread concerns, that the plan could drive gentrification and destroy the live music and night-time economy.

How Council Can Get The Brookvale Structure Plan Right

While it is inevitable that change is coming to Brookvale, how the Council implements the Structure Plan will ultimately make or break the creative foundations that Brookvale is built on. 

First announced in 2017, the latest iteration of the Brookvale Structure Plan is now under review – along with the 305 public submissions – and we will be unlikely to hear any further updates until 2024.

During this analysis period, Pine Property urges Council to ensure the following resources, infrastructure, and investments are allocated to stimulating and supporting culture, creativity and community in  Brookvale.

Policies that protect affordable housing: This is a proven strategy that can help artists remain in areas seeing gentrification. However, the Brookvale Structure Plan’s current affordable housing target is only 5 per cent. This is half of Council’s commitment to “seeking a minimum of 10 per cent affordable rental housing to be included in new planning proposals”.

Zoning Regulations: Brookvale’s Structure Plan must protect creative spaces, including designating certain areas as creative zones, or establishing regulations that prioritise the needs of creative communities.

Developer “Creativity Incentives”: Providing incentives to developers such as tax breaks to incorporate creative spaces into new developments will help ensure that as Brookvale expands, so does the culture upon which it is built.

Fund Cultural Spaces: Council must increase funding and support for cultural spaces in Brookvale, such as galleries, performance venues, and artist studios to help support and celebrate the work of local artists.

Involve creative communities in planning: Ensuring that local creative communities, like the Brookvale Arts District, are continually consulted throughout the planning process will help deliver a Structure Plan that is better for everybody.

Creative Use of Public Spaces: Encouraging art installations, performances, and events with local artists – and minimising red tape to deliver them – will drive adoption and help to maintain Brookvale’s cultural fabric.

Risks if Council Get it Wrong

If the above strategies are not embraced as a priority in the Brookvale Structure Plan, we risk losing the artistic values, unique identity and community spirit that has made the suburb famous.

We risk economic loss for all the businesses who have built these values. We risk losing the artists and businesses who have woven Brookvale’s social fabric. And we face a loss of the innovation that creative hubs deliver.

All eyes will be on Council’s revised plan when it comes – likely in 2024.

I’m with the Brand!

Manly has long been renowned for its surf and fashion labels such as Billabong, Oakley, Tommy Bahama, Ghanda, and other brands.

Now, these clothing labels are also increasingly receiving competition from non-traditional retailers who have built popular local brands and a strong community following.

Manly favourites, Rollers, Butterboy, Lox in a Box, Pocket Pizza and Captain Sip Sops are a few such brands who have made a name for themselves as local fashion retailers.

In fact, it is not uncommon for people to enter these stores, or visit their websites, and purchase apparel but not the primary food or service they are famous for.

While you might not traditionally associate a gourmet croissant, cookie, or pizza with clothing – unless you have been indulging in too many of them and need the next size up – there is a growing global movement of brands using merchandise as a mechanism to connect with their tribes.

Pine Property takes a look at five of the key reasons you should consider merchandise as a strategy in your business.

Keep in mind, that simply printing off a few tees with your logo on them is unlikely to have the desired effect. You require strategy on how your merchandise will deliver on the below points.

Personify Your Brand: While branded merchandise is not a new concept, clothing is increasingly being used by brands as an extension and personification of their values and identity.

Because clothing and its associated styles and designs enable brands to tangibly represent what they stand for, and enable people to experience the brand outside of consuming its product or service,
merchandise is a powerful branding tool.

Connects Customers: As well as being a walking billboard for your business, branded clothing also reinforces the connectedness of your customers by giving them a mutual sense of belonging to a

Working with local artists and designers who also align with your brand values will further reinforce that community connection and “tribe”.

Digital and Content Marketing: Communicating and collaborating with your community around clothing designs and ideas is an excellent way to engage your social audiences.

Branded merch can also provide a steady stream of user generated content from customers wearing your designs, to help feed the insatiable appetite of digital audiences.

Gifting Strategies: Merchandise giveaways can be used as a strategy to engage with local micro-influencers and to stand out among a sea of competition on social or local media.

Additional Revenue Streams: With the right product, designs, and a loyal customer base, it is quite possible to generate a solid revenue stream from merchandise. While it might not pay the bills on its
own, it is likely to more than cover costs.

Christmas Retail Trading Manly Northern Beaches

Christmas 2022: Retail Spending Forecasts and Strategies

Retail trading conditions over Christmas 2022 are forecast to remain resilient, despite economic headwinds from inflation, supply chain issues, and interest rate rises, according to retail specialist, Brian Walker.

The news will be cautiously welcomed by retailers who usually turnover 30 to 40 power cent of their annual revenue – $58 billion nationally – during November, December and January.

“Optimistically, I think we will be there,” Brian, the CEO of  Retail Doctor Group. says, citing high household savings and many being ahead on their home loans.

“There is money in the economy. Paradoxically, we have seen increased retail sales through the last quarter. However over the next three to six months we anticipate that people will tighten up and be more mindful of expenditure,” he says, adding that further unexpected rate rises may impact these forecasts.

“Interest rate rises have an inverse relation to people’s spending.”

How retail businesses can stand out at Christmas:
– Embrace the community
– Sharpen your Point of Difference (USP)
– Leverage your location
– Strong omni-channel business model
– Informed and competitive pricing strategies
– Robust supply chains
– Well-trained staff
– Staff recruiting and retention framework
– Well-planned marketing and promotions
– Database and loyalty strategies
– Socially conscious business and products
– Fulfillment and delivery solutions

Online Booming But In-Store Critical

Around 20 per cent of Christmas 2022 purchases will be online, with some industries being much higher, according to Brian, who says COVID has seen mainstream adoption of e-commerce.

And the remaining 80 per cent will also likely be highly influenced by online research.

“Shoppers spend an average of five hours a day on their smartphones and are pre-researched more than ever,” Brian says, highlighting the importance of a strong omni-channel offering and online presence.

“Browsing at the shops is becoming less prevalent. Now, people build their shopping list online and then go to the shops to consummate the purchase. This consummation means that the in-store experience remains as critical as ever,” he says.

Retailers should also embrace their community and leverage the benefits of their location and use that to inform and enhance the shopping experience to help stand out from the competition.

How Else Retailers Can Stand Out

As well as an omni-channel business model, retailers require a strong brand and a unique product supported by robust supply chains, well-trained staff, and a competitive, informed pricing strategy, according to Brian.

Planning for Christmas 2022 should have begun in August or September, and include shoring up supply chains, recruiting and training staff, and planning marketing and promotions.

Brian encourages retailers to leverage their CRM and customer database to work their loyalty programs to drive repeat business from current or previous customers.

Socially conscious and environmentally aware businesses and products will also have an edge, especially among millennials who value recyclable and biodegradable products and packaging, along with knowing a product has an ethical origin.

Fulfillment and delivery strategies are also important as we see increasing levels of home deliveries and subscription business models and partnerships with services like Amazon and Uber.

“They call it ‘The Last Mile’. It is the idea that instead of me going to the shops, the shops will come to me,” Brian says.

Discounts, Promotions and Sales

While the Chrismtas sales were once reserved for Boxing Day, they now traditionally begin with the Black Friday sales – this year on 25 November 2022 – however many retailers now start their sales as early as mid-November.

Discounting might help you move product, however maintaining margins requires having a differentiated offer and knowing the products in your category that will be winners and ensuring you have adequate stock, according to Brian.

Why do retail shops sit empty for a period of time?

Empty retail properties often see landlords criticised by the market and local communities for asking too much rent, however there are other complex and interacting factors.

While some landlords do have unrealistic rent expectations, other factors that lead to properties sitting vacant for extended periods include local market conditions, the pressure of online retail, state and local governments, the lengthy process of required due diligence, and also unrealistic tenants.

Speaking to Pine Property on the condition of anonymity, an asset manager for a non-institutional private client with a national representation in retail and commercial property  emphasised the importance of factoring these underlying variables.

Reading the market:

“Landlords have to understand where the market is going. It is not like it was 20 years ago. There is no question it is much harder for retailers,” the asset manager said.

He added that sometimes, both landlords and tenants don’t read the market, often to their detriment.

“If you don’t move fast enough the landlord can lose a tenant, or the tenant can lose a property.”

“You must act quickly and to do that you need to be getting info from a good agent and do your own research so have the evidence and market intel to move quickly,” he said.


A property’s location has a huge impact on whether a tenant believe they can operate a business successfully from it, according to founder and director of Pine Property, Patrick Kelleher.

“Some properties are really appealing and never sit vacant, like high profile corner positions, while other shops down the road with limited natural light or foot traffic are always going to have challenges,” Patrick said.


State and local governments also impact commercial property vacancies, in a variety of ways.

Councils are partly responsible for marketing a region or area to attract shoppers. They must also consider the tenancy mix when reviewing development applications that are often required by many businesses before they can enter a market, further slowing things down.

“You can’t always blame councils for delays either, as the tenant might not have provided the necessary elements required in the application,” according to the asset manager.

He recommends that tenants seek professional assistance for any council applications so as to make the process smoother and expedite approvals.

Another government factor is the recent significant increases in state land taxes and council rates which have affected landlords’ ability to compromise on rent, according to the asset manager.

“Until we see state government help, landlords will have trouble decreasing their rents. Everyone needs to join the party to make it work,” he said.

Due diligence and the tenancy mix:

Part of the application process includes due diligence, which can be complex and lengthy, further contributing to extended periods of vacancies..

“The tenant is going to spend a lot of money fitting out the space, so from their point of view they need to do their homework. Landlords must also evaluate the tenant – their assets, experience, and business knowledge – to ensure the tenancy is not bound to fail in six months,” the asset manager said.

Patrick added: “The lead times in securing an appropriate tenant are usually one to three months but market conditions can easily see that become six or more.”

Innovation is required:

While landlords are often criticised for charging too much rent, the asset manager said the responsibility also resides with the tenant to do better.

“Retailers must be more innovative and smarter than they ever were. They must be switched on when they enter a tenancy agreement, and throughout it, or they will be handing back the keys.”

Omnichannel retailing, technology, and alternative business solutions such as short term leases and pop-up shops are all important considerations.

“Pop-ups are a suck-it-and-see solution for both owners and tenants. It gives both sides the opportunity to see if the agreement will work for them long term,” the asset manager said.

Property is contagious:

Both empty properties and busy strips are contagious. Prospective tenants are less attracted to empty shops and more attracted to bustling strips.

“It often takes the filling of one retail shop by a strong tenant to lift that strip back to a position where other tenants come along and join them,” the asset manager said, adding this furthered the case for landlords to offer short term leasing.   

Landlord’s are running a business too:

A property’s value is directly attributed to its market rent thus any decrease in rent will result in a corresponding decrease in the value of the property (Tenanted Investment Analysis), according to Patrick. 

“Any astute Landlord conscious of maintaining a level of liquidity with their assets are often less likely to drop rent because it negatively affects the valuation of their property,” he said.  

He added that some landlords may accept a below-market rent simply to fill a property, however given the negative impact this has on property values, and the long-term nature of commercial leases, many are reluctant. Some enduring vacancies for extended periods with a stand-off between requested and perceived market rents. 

“After all, landlords are running a business too,” he said.

Filling empty retail spaces will ultimately take landlords, tenants and governments being flexible and working together to drive innovation and reach a mutually beneficial arrangement.