City's Retail Sector Defies State Trend; Steady as She Goes for Warwick Businesses despite Prevailing Economic Conditions

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Byline: EMMA CHANNON

IT has been a tough year for Queensland businesses, with the summer floods only adding to the burden of the GFC and the high Aussie dollar Co but Warwick's economy is leading the way in retail confidence.

The latest research undertaken by council shows Warwick's CBD retail vacancy rates at a low 4.2%.

This figure has remained steadfast since the last survey six months ago, and looks bright against the Queensland average of 7.9%.

Stanthorpe's retail vacancy rate was calculated at 6.8%.

Southern Downs Regional Council economic development officer for Warwick John Randall said these results were C[pounds sterling]very pleasingC[yen].

C[pounds sterling]Considering the national slump in retail, I think the businesses here are holding up better than on a national basis,C[yen] he said.

C[pounds sterling]Especially in the last 12 months, ours have held up with the effects of the GFC and the strong dollar.

C[pounds sterling]It's good that (those factors) don't appear to affect us that much locally and the other major thing is people still have confidence, because they're holding onto their leases.C[yen]

As a result, Mr Randall said, the main street has remained C[pounds sterling]very tightly heldC[yen] and of the handful of newer businesses to Warwick, none had been able to acquire a lease along Palmerin St.

Mr Randall said Warwick's natural conservatism with spending also contributed to its hardy economic climate.

C[pounds sterling]Warwick has always experienced a steady slow-growth (economy); it's never been a boom or bust town, whether that be in construction, retail or in services,C[yen] he said.

C[pounds sterling]Traditionally our business psyche is slow and steady and that's what our figures show.

C[pounds sterling]Our economy is growing slowly but surely at about 5% each year. I think that conservative psyche pays off in tough times.C[yen]

Sian Edge, acting manager of one of the newer businesses in Warwick, Jeanswest, said the Rose City was the niche the company had been looking for. …

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