'Fast Five' with Ellis Davies - Manager, Retail

Ellis joined MacroPlan as a Manager in the retail division in January 2012. Prior to starting at MacroPlan he was a Principal Consultant (Retail) at Pitney Bowes Business Insight. Ellis started working in the field of economic research and retail analysis in 2003, when he joined Dimasi Strategic Research. He has worked on numerous retail economic assessments throughout Australia, including providing supply and demand analysis, examining market potential and investigating potential economic impacts from proposed shopping centre developments (i.e. EIAs). Ellis also produces the monthly Shopping Centre Benchmarks which is used by many major shopping centre owners and managers. [hr]

What upcoming development project are you most excited about in Victoria and why?

I am very keen to see the completion of the Melbourne Quarter development by Lendlease in Docklands. I had the opportunity to work on the project at the design phase and have seen the ambitious vision for the site. Melbourne Quarter occupies a strategic location within an emerging commercial precinct linking the Melbourne CBD with Docklands. The project is to deliver a number of commercial and residential buildings, as well as a substantial provision of retail shops. A key component of the project will be Melbourne’s first ’Sky Park’, which is to be elevated above Collins Street.


What makes Victoria an appealing destination for retail property development?

A key appealing aspect of Victoria for investment is its strong economy. The economy of Victoria, and particularly Melbourne, has been robust for many years and has not suffered from the volatility seen in some other states.  Unpinning this economic strength is population growth and migration, with Melbourne the fastest growing city in the nation. Residents and visitors to Melbourne also associate strongly with the range of shopping centres. Chadstone continues to the lead the way in shopping centre design and experience, and is a tourist destination particularly for internationals visitors, while three of the top five most successful shopping centres in Australia are located in Melbourne.


What changes have you seen in the composition of major projects in recent years? 

Major developments can no longer fulfill one purpose and generally all major projects include a mix of facilities. Shopping centres can no longer be just a place to shop, office towers can no longer be just a place to work, and train stations can no longer just provide transport uses. Increasingly, I am being asked what new experiences can be added to shopping centres, as well as what retail facilities and other uses can be added to office towers and train stations to improve the experience of the user. Importantly, it is primarily not about increasing the number of revenue streams for the asset, it is about enhancing the overall experience for customers, which drives its own returns.


What impact has online retailing had on brick and mortar retail, and what will be the implication of Amazon?

Online retailing continues to be threat for some brick and mortar stores, though it is relatively minor for retailers that have adapted to offer a quality instore experience or have a notable online platform. When online retailing commenced in Australia its impact was often overstated, however many retailers and shopping centres effectively adapted to the new challenge. Similarly, some commentators are warning of major implications with the expansion of Amazon, though leading retailers and shopping centres will again adapt, as with any new competition, and the implications should be relatively minor for many retailers.


You have been with MacroPlan for over six years. What has been your most memorable project you have worked on and why?

I had the opportunity to work on a strategic review of Emporium soon after the centre opened. Emporium is a key CBD shopping centre and was developed at the former Myer site on Lonsdale Street. Its opening resulted in a reinvigoration of the retail environment of the entire CBD, and existing centres actually experienced a lift in sales rather than an impact. It is now the best performing CBD shopping centre in the nation and is achieving MAT close to $450 million according to the SCN CBD Guns 2018.


Contact: Ellis Davies Manager – Retail 03 9600 0500