Counting the customers

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A new pedestrian survey indicates Queenstown’s CBD is getting busier and foot traffic is dispersing more widely. 

Property consultancy Colliers International has just released its eighth annual ‘Queenstown Pedestrian Count’, a guide for commercial landlords and tenants. 

The survey – always conducted at three identical time-slots on the same day in March – puts pedestrian numbers 32 per cent higher than last year. 

Densest locations remain within the area bounded by Camp Street, Shotover St, Rees St and The Mall. 

For the eighth consecutive year, the heaviest count in town is on Camp St outside O’Connells. 

However, Colliers’ John Scobie says people are spreading out a little further. 

In the most striking example, Steamer Wharf’s entrance now ranks the fifth-busiest spot, compared with 30th last year. 

That could be skewed by tour groups wandering past en route to the Earnslaw, Scobie suggests. 

The count is also noticeably up in the Church St/Searle Lane precinct, where a number of food and beverage outlets opened during the past year. 

This precinct still doesn’t make the top 15 but it may be the cause of two Mall sites dropping their placings, Scobie speculates. 

The two Mall sites – by the Bendon and Amazon stores – are ranked 11th and 12th respectively, down from eighth and sixth. 

Scobie notes Upper Brecon St by Cafe 111 doubled its foot traffic at the 10am and 3pm counts but didn’t make the top 15 because hardly anyone passed by after 8pm. 

The pedestrian count continues to be a useful tool for national retailers, Scobie believes. 

“A lot of them have specific requirements – they need to know what the busiest part of town is, so the more people going past the more they’re going to get in their store.” 

Those retailers will pay high rents and even key money for a prime site, Scobie says, which explains why there aren’t any long-term vacancies in the central CBD. 

Scobie says the exception to the rule is a destination shop which people search out regardless of its location. 

He cites the example of exclusive furniture retailer Matisse, which is relatively hidden at Shotover Ridge in Frankton’s Glenda Drive.