The CEO of the latest store to leave its Tauranga CBD location says the lack of foot traffic is forcing his decision.
Barkers Men’s Clothing on Devonport Road ceased trading at the location on Easter Monday.
They join a growing trend of businesses abandoning the Tauranga central business district.
A report from SunLive last month highlighted how there were 30 vacant spaces along Devonport Road alone.
Barkers have now joined that list.
Glenn Cracknell, CEO at Barkers Men’s Clothing, is disappointed to have had to make this tough decision.
He explains that the company have always enjoyed the CBD location as it matches their target clientele.
However, the lack of foot traffic has left Glenn’s hands tied.
“Totally a foot traffic thing it has dried up, completely dried up,” he explains, suggesting the issue has been ongoing well before the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The city has got quieter and quieter as tenants have left. We have really been struggling for over a year now with getting foot traffic through the door. So that is the only reason why we have decided not to renew our lease and head to the mall.”
Barkers have recently opened a new store at The Crossing in Tauriko and already have an established sites at Bayfair in Mount Maunganui.
Despite that, maintaining a spot in the centre would have been ideal.
Glenn admits that they don’t really want to move.
“We have always really enjoyed having a shop in the city. A lot of our customers used to or still do work in the area from a corporate point of view. Other than that there was no other footfall.
“From the moment Bayfair did their extension and the Crossing opened up a lot of retailers moved there. Along with Farmers having their construction there that definitely added to the woes of getting people down that Devonport Road.”
Barkers’ decision to move away from the CBD is just the latest example of national companies moving out of the city centre.
But despite the downward trend, Glenn is hopeful that, one day, his store and others will be thriving again in the Tauranga CBD.
“It is not to say we won’t go back. If we can end up filling those tenancies again and with tourism coming back we would obviously go back because like I say it was a really good market for us.”