Retail shops in sydney deserted

Retailers in the Sydney CBD have suffered a dramatic slump in sales due to the APEC summit

Those shops in the Pitt Street Mall and surrounding streets have been especially hard hit and many shop staff have been told to stay at home, or work reduced hours.

Fears have also been expressed that staff working at Starbucks and McDonald's will be targeted by protestors however a Starbucks spokesperson says all staff will continue to wear their uniforms throughout APEC. Coca-Cola Amatil is not commenting on its security contingency plans.

Inside Retailing Online spoke to several retailers this morning and the story is the same – the CBD resembles a ghost town.

Stephen Adler has managed a shoe shop in the MLC Centre in Martin Place for the past 32 years and says he has never witnessed anything quite like APEC.

"It is a disaster," he said. "I sold five pairs of sandals last week to people who have either gone to Fiji, Phuket or the Whitsundays for a week's holiday.


"A lot of people are not coming into the CBD. They've simply stayed away. Firstly, you can't get into a carpark. If you came into the MLC carpark, you'd need to show your driver's licence and sign in, even on a casual basis. That has put a lot of people off.

"The thing I object to is that while I generally don't open the shop on Saturdays, I was planning to this Saturday because I've got nothing on. I wanted to come to work and do some tidying up, turn the lights on and open the doors. But because we have the American Consulate above us in the centre, the place will be closed.

"To be told in this lovely society that I cannot trade and I have no right to open my shop because they have an expectation of 20,000 people walking up Martin Place – it peeves me," Adler said.

A spokesman for Country Road, on the corner of Pitt Street Mall and King St, said APEC had impacted turnover.

"Business is well down and it is noticeable, not so much in menswear but certainly in womenswear. If guys need something, they walk upstairs and get it. But because foot traffic is down, women's fashion on the ground floor is suffering," he said.

Sussan, just along from Country Road, has also reported a major decrease in foot traffic. A spokesperson said the usually very busy lunch period had ceased to exist this week – "it's just like there's no lunch hour at all now but the afternoons have been slow as well.

"It's the same for all us in Pitt Street Mall. There's noone about at all. It's very quiet."

Andrew Farrar-Pugh, manager of Bing Lee's Skygarden outlet, said today would really hurt because of late night trading.

"Just because I'm quiet, I can't close the door at 6pm. I have to stay here till 9.00, but I will guarantee you that this place is going to be a ghost town.

"But, a few more days and we're done," Farrar-Pugh said.

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