Large retailers popping up outside Ashburton’s CBD have had little impact on spending in the town centre, according to a new report.
Infometrics was commissioned to analyse how major retailers operating outside the CBD zone were impacting central economic activity, and the wider Ashburton economy.
The report was in response to the Ashburton District Council recognising the potential impact of new retail developments on the CBD.
The developments include the River Crossing precinct, which opened at the end of 2022 with Kmart as the anchor tenant.
On the other side of SH1, Briscoes shifted out of the CBD to set up next to a new Rebel Sport in April, with a Chemist Warehouse opening next door.
Infometrics analysis found that, to date, the value of electronic card spending in Ashburton’s CBD has been relatively consistent since October 2021.
“Given inflation over this period, this suggests a slight pullback in real spend per transaction, however, there is no clear effect associated with the opening of Kmart,” the report said.
Total spending, excluding fuel, grocery and alcohol, in Ashburton’s CBD rose 5.6% between the first half of 2022 and the first half of 2023, ahead of the national increase of 3.2%.
Infometrics also found there was little evidence that the introduction of new retailers outside of the CBD hurt overall retail employment.
As of February 2023, there were 1570 people employed in retail in central Ashburton (the CBD area and the fringe retail centres), up 60 people from…