NEW research has revealed the value of Melbourne's retail and hospitality industry is at a record high, contributing $5.46 billion to Melbourne's economy last year, an increase of 23 per cent since 2013.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle last week joined Minister for Public Transport and Employment Jacinta Allan to release the Melbourne Retail and Hospitality Strategy 2013-2017 Year Two Report.
"Retail and hospitality accounts for six per cent of Melbourne's $90.6 billion economy," the Lord Mayor said.
"Everyone wants a piece of Melbourne: in the last year alone we have hosted more than 11 million visitors and our hotel occupancy rates remain high at 86 per cent.
"With the recent addition of major retail developments, more 'hidden gems' below and above ground and a stable vacancy rate of 3.2 per cent, it's no surprise our diverse retail and hospitality offer is the envy of cities around the world."
The Retail and Hospitality Strategy Year Two Report Card revealed:
- An enviable diversity and balance of independent brands (49 per cent) and high street retailers (51 per cent); and
- Retail and hospitality floor space occupancy is up three per cent to more than 2.78 million square metres.
Recent data also shows there are 1,418 hotel rooms under construction and 3,265 hotel rooms have planning approval and are likely to begin construction in the next two years. There are a further 4,822 hotel rooms in the pipeline.
More than 35,000 square metres of retail space is under construction, including St Collins Lane opening in May.
Chair of Council's Economic Development Committee, Councillor Kevin Louey, said the latest figures are a testament to more than 85 actions being achieved in the second year of the strategy's implementation.
"In the last year we have worked closely with the Victorian Government, business and industry to put a strong focus on business development and innovation, positioning and activation, business diversity and sustainability.
"We also awarded almost $160,000 of small business grants towards innovative retail and hospitality enterprises as well as close to $500,000 to precinct associations to support our small traders.
"Retail and hospitality is at the very heart of our city and we are proud to provide direct support to our business community."
More information is available from the City of Melbourne website at <http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/business/doing-business/sectors/retail-hospitality/Pages/retail-hospitality-strategy-report-2014-2015.aspx>.