'Fast Five' with Corinne McCool - Manager - Retail

Corinne has over 14 years' experience in the property and retail industry. Corinne joined Macroplan as a Retail manager in February 2016. Prior to this role, Corinne held the position of Network Planning Manager at Coles which saw her providing advice around long-term property strategies for existing and new stores for supermarkets, liquor, fuel and online across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Corinne has well established herself within the industry as a specialist in retail network strategies, retail supply and demand assessments, centre performance bench-marking, economic modelling for new and existing centres and economic impact assessments.   

What makes Queensland an appealing destination for retail property investment?

Housing affordability is a major issue throughout the nation, and this is likely to intensify in coming months/years as interest rates appear to have begun their inevitable upward movement. Therefore Queensland’s lower median house price, combined with a more relaxed lifestyle, milder climate, and increasing employment opportunities as tourism and commodity prices both regain strength, has again begun to attract strong interstate migration. This growth in population has seen corresponding growth in retail sales, which is likely to continue. Couple this with a simpler planning regime, a much greater spread of ownership plus higher yields and Queensland offers strong appeal for retail property investment.

Kaufland have just confirmed they are considering the possibility of expanding to Australia. How do you think this will impact the Australian retail marketplace?

Kaufland have indicated that they are undertaking a feasibility study into entering the Australian market, and would require 10,000 – 20,000 sq.m sites to deliver their ‘hypermarket’ format, which provides a combined supermarket and general merchandise offer. Interestingly Kaufland’s parent company Schwarz Group also own Lidl which has also been strongly rumoured to be looking at the Australian market. Lidl operate a smaller discount supermarket format similar to Aldi, which has already proven successful in Australia, so perhaps the strategy is to establish Kaufland first to address logistical issues and then leverage Lidl off that. The entry of either of these chains into Australia is likely to see a strong response from the existing majors with further price discounting. In turn this is likely to have a negative effect on smaller independent operators, resulting in further market concentration/consolidation.

We’ve had the rise of the food category… what do you think will be the next trend for shopping centres to focus on?

I don’t think the rise of the food category is over yet, and we are increasingly likely to see it incorporated with lifestyle and entertainment uses in precincts and centres over the coming years. If you look at places like Eat Street Markets in Brisbane, the increasing popularity of food trucks, pop-up stores and markets generally I think we’ll see more and more of this being integrated into developments, and it will continue to attract custom, bespoke and niche products and offers. These kinds of uses provide an ‘experience’ that people can engage in and with, feel part of and share a sense of community.

What upcoming approved retail project do you think will have the biggest impact on Brisbane?

Queens Wharf. The strength of the Brisbane CBD retail offering has been driven by the continued investment in and redevelopment of major retail facilities and centres in the CBD over the last decade or so, particularly in the Queen Street Mall. The development of Queens Wharf will extend the key retail offer at the southern end of the Queen Street Mall/CBD, and build on the strengths of the existing traditional, international and luxury retail offer in the Brisbane CBD. It will also provide increased entertainment and dining uses which will help create a vibrant CBD providing extended trading hours and experiences throughout the week and into the evenings and weekend; as well as improving activation with the Brisbane River, much like the offer provided on the eastern side of the CBD along Eagle Street.

What do you think the next ‘game changer’ will be in Australian retail?

New technologies will continue to be integrated into retail products, stores and centres. So much is already happening overseas, one example is interactive interfaces in change rooms that let you change the lighting (brilliant), choose products, interact with staff and can eventually become your point of sale facility. The anticipated entry of AmazonFresh into the Australian market in 2017/18 will also drive new innovations such as Amazon Dash Buttons which are synched to a specific product and allow you to re-order products like toothpaste and washing powder at the push of a (wifi-connected) button. Even as a retail analyst we’ve seen technology improve the way we work, we can now use confidentialised credit card information that accurately tells us how much people spend on what products and at what stores and centres, instead of previously having to rely on people’s recollection in exit and telephone interviews – delivering increased customer insights to shape future development.


Contact Corinne McCool today:

Corinne McCool, Manager - Retail cmccool@macroplan.com.au or 07 3221 8166