HB residents’ willingness to open their wallets continues unabated. Statistics New Zealand says that retail spend is up year on year, Q1 2021 was up by 12.8%,  compared to the prior year and Q2 2021 by 36%. 

This of course, sounds much better than it actually is, because in Q2 2020, we were all enjoying New Zealand’s first Level 4 lockdown.

There are a number of factors in play – near full employment, a buoyant property market and not being able to spend money on overseas trips, being  major contributors. Inflation too, will play a part in future quarters as the price of almost everything seems to be going up, and consumer spending numbers will naturally rise.

Occupancy rates in the retail sector are now slightly better than they were pre-COVID, according to Turley & Co’s latest Retail Property Focus Report. 

The latest report, to the end of September, shows Hawke’s Bay retail occupancy is 94% – a six year high – up 1 point on pre-pandemic occupancy of 93%.

Turley & Co property strategist and valuer Pat Turley says the occupancy levels are a very good news story. 

“What we’re seeing is very good resilience to COVID effects and online retail headwinds. Hospitality occupancy continues to increase.

“The occupancy rate is considerably better than some pre-pandemic effects commentary suggested was likely.”

Hawke’s Bay mainstreets’ retail occupancy has overall improved notwithstanding COVID and online retail challenges, with strong domestic tourism assisting.

The occupancy rates have recovered despite the overall increase in retail outlets.  Since July 2015, there are now 10 more retail outlets on the selected precincts sampled for Turley & Co’s Retail Property Focus Report.

Shopping precincts in Hastings, Havelock North, Napier and Taradale are sampled.

  • In Hastings Central retail vacancies decreased by one retail unit from March 2020 to September 2021. 

“The category mix has changed between 2015-21, migrating away from fashion retail that is down 5 percentage points, and towards hospitality up 2 points – a Hawke’s Bay-wide trend,” says Turley.

Hastings District Council actively supports increasing outdoor dining, including street-dining buildouts and clustering similar business licences, achieving central Hastings increasing vibrancy.

  • Havelock North retail outlets increased by 10 since 2015, and recorded a 97% occupancy rate as at September. 
  • In the Napier Central precinct, Emerson St vacancies increased by two since March 2020. 
  • Taradale retail vacancies fell from four in March ’21 to three in September.

“Hawke’s Bay retail occupancy for 2019-2021 is adaptive, resilient and robust.

“These figures are remarkable and reflect strong confidence in all sectors of the Hawke’s Bay property market, thanks to a strong Hawke’s Bay economy which has shaken off COVID,” says Turley.

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