The Covid-19 pandemic delivered a body blow to CBD retailers, but it’s just the latest of their challenges in recent years. They were already under pressure from cautious consumer spending, intense competition from online retailing and the growth of suburban “mega-centres”.
Now, declining commuter foot traffic and an increase in people working from home present new challenges for CBD retailers. Lockdowns, changing work practices and the need for social distancing have left some of Australia’s largest city centres at times resembling ghost towns.
Even as restrictions lift and CBDs reopen, it will not be business as normal.