Retailers eye Christchurch CBD

AS_Colour_Christchurch_frontTwo national retailers are shortly to open their doors for the first time in the Christchurch inner city and another existing store is moving closer to the action.

They’re part of an emerging youth-based retail precinct and Nick Doig, director of retail leasing at Colliers International in Christchurch, who said the opening of The Crossing has sent a strong signal to retailers.

“There’s a real buzz among retailers now,” he said.

“Those already open are starting to feel the benefit of increased foot traffic with the continuing return of office workers and other retailers establishing nearby. The other great thing is that increased car parking is making life so much easier for shoppers.”

Doig says he is actively negotiating with two well-known fashion operators on another two sites in the immediate vicinity, which will further strengthen the area.

Boardertown, one of New Zealand’s largest snowboard and skateboard retailers, is opening shortly with a 250sq m store on the former Dick Smith site at Lichfield Street.

Boardertown already has stores in Auckland and Queenstown, and co-owner Tim Guy says Boardertown had been looking at Christchurch for some time.

“We’d always been interested in opening in the city, because of its proximity to ski fields coupled with the large skateboard scene. We really like how the city is developing and its architecture,” he said.

Trending street fashion store North Beach has leased 500sq m on Colombo Street, next to Ballantynes and is aiming to open on December 1.

Directors Barry and Carolyn Dee said they have been eyeing Christchurch for a long time.

“With a great brand presence in the North Island, we thought it was finally time to give the South Island some North Beach love too.

“We’re very excited – It’s been a long time coming, but for us it’s definitely a milestone to be crossing the Cook Strait. It’s a real achievement for a retailer that started peddling t-shirts at a market, to be going so strong across the country so many years later.”

North Beach began in the early 1990s, with a small market stall in Auckland. Now they have 12 stores nationwide and a strong online presence.

Meanwhile, AS Colour is moving from the site it’s occupied for the past two years, on the corner of St Asaph and Durham Streets, to another high-profile corner location closer to the core. Now New Zealand’s largest retailer and wholesaler of blank apparel, AS Colour is opening a two-level store in the Stranges Lane complex, on the corner of High and Lichfield Streets.

“We decided to start looking back at the city and we realised we needed to make a move,” said managing director Lawrence Railton.

“You either go in now and get a good location or you leave it and you’ll get one of the worst spots. We’re really happy with the site we’ve got – it’s a crazy shaped store – but it’s in a great location and we like being near other similar kinds of retailers.

“We like what’s happening in Christchurch, there are a lot of cool cafes and retailers are starting to move. People will start to choose the city over the malls because of the growing choice.”

AS Colour has eight New Zealand stores, including Christchurch, and it has just opened a store in Melbourne, bringing the number of Australian stores to seven.

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