How do we fill shops?

GROWTH OPPORTUNITY: The National Retail Association thinks a Bunnings in Kingaroy will encourage other retailers to enter the area.
GROWTH OPPORTUNITY: The National Retail Association thinks a Bunnings in Kingaroy will encourage other retailers to enter the area. Katherine Morris

WHILE some towns in the South Burnett like Murgon and Goomeri experience growth and steady retail business, several shop fronts have been empty in the Kingaroy for months and even years.

So how do we fill them? And what do businesses need to do to stay competitive?

According to Malcolm Cole, director of external relations at the National Retail Association, big business could make a difference.

He said a Bunnings coming to Kingaroy would be a boost for the South Burnett and encourage other retailers to come to the area.

"It's tempting to think big versus little, but it's to everybody's benefit, the big anchor stores make business viable for the smaller stores," Mr Cole said.

"And if you have people coming from outside of Kingaroy to go to Bunnings other retailers are going to benefit.

"They are likely to spend money in other speciality stores while they're in town."

Mr Cole said introducing seven day trading in Kingaroy would also lead to a boost for retailers.

"Part of the problem in Kingaroy is that it's missing out on Sunday trade which is available in a lot of other centres. You lose one seventh of your viability," Mr Cole said.

"There is a lot of driving traffic that comes through Kingaroy. If they stop and see nothing open they're just going to keep driving to the next town.

"You need a good mix of products and services to capture that passing traffic and to cater to the local community."

Dalby has had seven day trading for more than two years since the NRA made an application to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.

Mr Cole said for businesses worried a Bunnings would take away from their own business, customers would shop where they find the best service, products and advice.

"The niche for small business owners is to provide outstanding tailored service and a better understanding of a customer and their needs," he said.

"Individual traders have the flexibility to stock a particular product and meet the needs of their customers.

"The businesses that survive and thrive are ones that tailor to their customers really well; that's the secret to good retail."

Mr Cole said retailers needed to keep in mind that not only do they compete with larger stores, but with the whole world, because of the online market.

Topics:  bunnings growth kingaroy retail national retail association south burnett

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