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Westside Plaza in retail struggle

Thursday, 7th February, 2019

Construction work takes place behind what was the old Big W store. PICTURE: Myles Burt Construction work takes place behind what was the old Big W store. PICTURE: Myles Burt

By Myles Burt

Two more businesses are closing while the Sentinel Property Group negotiates for more retailers to fill the Westside Plaza.

Jewellery store Zamel’s will be closing its doors on February 21 after 11 years at the shopping centre and the last Baxter’s Bakery in the city shuts it doors in 11 days.

They are the latest in a string of businesses to make the move, including Baker’s Delight, Silver City Gourmet Meats and Westside Newsagency after Big W shut in June last year.

Leasing Executive Matt Gleeson said Sentinel is currently looking to “close out negotiations with a few national retailers”, with a new bakery and butcher shop possibly on the cards.

‘Westside News’, a new newsagency will be opening across from Priceline Pharmacy.

Mr Gleeson said on top of speaking with national retailers, businesses in Mildura have shown interest in coming to the Silver City.

Priceline Pharmacy and EB Games don’t look to be going anywhere soon, after recently extending their leases.

But some businesses have been hit hard by recent closures such as Miller’s Fashion Club, Priceline Pharmacy, Ed Harry and Autograph, who all say the large decline in foot traffic and the increasingly popular use of online shopping has had a major impact on their businesses.

An employee of Priceline Pharmacy said the situation was dire, but was hopeful after Westside management announced there are three new stores opening in the future.

One of them being the new newsagency, with the other two still yet to be revealed.

Priceline employees said the three new stores just need to “hurry up and happen” to help boost foot traffic.

Ed Harry has been battling on at Westside Plaza, although it might be the next to go after the company went into voluntary administration last month.

An employee at Autograph said the closures are “pretty disappointing”, especially as various retail spaces such as Rockman’s have been left empty for years.

Other businesses are ready to push on such as Biz Up and Cafe Kona, who are happy to keep the business going.

The manager of Cafe Kona said she loved her cafe and customers.

Westside retailers now hope the cooler months will help bring in more customers and tourists, after recent heatwaves have provided little reason for local residents to leave the house.

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