The Corona crisis and the associated closures in the course of the lockdowns have also left their mark on retail. After all, 78 percent of shops in Austrian cities had to close temporarily during the lockdown, as a recent survey of a total of 36 Austrian cities by the Lower Austrian consultancy “Standort + Markt” revealed. The current retail situation in the city centre of Graz was analysed in the course of the survey, as was the much-discussed topic of vacancies, the rate of which actually decreased in the city centre of Graz last year.
In order to further revitalise Graz city centre after months of lockdown, Mayor Nagl offers concrete support measures to the entrepreneurs.
Considerable number of shops in Graz city centre with 930 shops
The survey shows: The city centre of Graz has a dense and always highly attractive stock of shops, which extends over a total street length of more than 7 kilometres, whereby Annenstraße and the side streets of the city centre of Graz (among others Sporgasse, Stempfergasse) are also counted here. The so-called A-location, roughly speaking the area between Kastner & Öhler and Jakominiplatz, stretches over a street length including adjacent side streets of 1,150 metres, which is quite remarkable in an Austrian comparison and even matches the extent of the A-zone of Mariahilfer Strasse in Vienna.
The number of shops in Graz city centre is also considerable according to “Standort + Markt”: in total there are 930 shops with a business area of currently around 173,700 m², 61,200 m² of which are in A locations.
Vacancy rate moderate at 3.9 per cent
According to the analysts, the issue of “vacancy”, which is prevalent in many Austrian cities, is less dramatic in Graz than in other cities: the absolute number of 90 vacancies with a total of around 6,800 m² should be seen in the context of the total number of shops and the very high shop space volume. The vacancy rate in Graz City was recently a moderate 3.9 per cent; compared to 2019, the vacancy rate has even decreased by 0.3 percentage points. The average for primary cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants is 4.8 per cent, Innsbruck is slightly worse with 4.4 per cent most recently, Linz and Salzburg are about better with values between 3.0 per cent and 3.4 per cent.
The shop turnover in the city of Graz, i.e. the proportion of shops that are confronted with a change of tenant or use within a year, is 12.6 per cent – a value that is somewhat below the average value of cities in primary cities with over 100,000 inhabitants. According to the analysts of “Standort + Markt”, this is particularly pleasing, as a high index indicates a massive, very often detrimental change in the shop space structure. The city of Graz is thus to date to be classified as a sufficiently dynamic “place to be”. The situation is currently different in Innsbruck, for example, where the fluctuation rate is currently at 15.3 percent and is causing discussion.
Sector mix: fashion is the trump card with a 47 per cent share of space
With regard to the sector mix, the particularly important A-location of Graz was compared with other A-locations of the primary cities in the course of the survey: Here it is noticeable that the fashion sector in particular still has a very high weighting with a 47.2 percent share of space. “Kastner und Öhler” is the driving force here. The average of the Austrian primary cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants in this area is around 42 per cent, Vienna City (59.4 per cent) and Vienna Mariahilfer Strasse (53.3 per cent) achieve the top values among the primary cities here.
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To support Graz’s inner city, Mayor Nagl is implementing the following concrete measures in coordination with the Department for Economic and Tourism Development:
Additional measures of the city management:
Mayor Siegfried Nagl: “The survey clearly shows that the range of shopping opportunities in the city centre of Graz – also in an Austria-wide comparison – is at a very good level with a total of 930 shops and that the traders in the city centre of Graz are represented with a considerable total area of over 170,000 m2. However, the effects of the Corona crisis have also been an enormous effort for the entrepreneurs in Graz city centre, which is why we are pursuing the clear mandate to quickly offer support measures with the revitalisation offensive to strengthen Graz’s economy: In addition to the promotion of start-ups, for example, by providing support for temporary business space utilisation through pop-up stores or with subsidies for the long-term revitalisation of business space.”
Holding Graz marketing manager Richard Peer: “With the new business field City Management, Holding Graz is setting numerous accents in the area of inner city revitalisation. In the past weeks we have been preparing for the now announced opening steps in mid-May. For example, new sales campaigns for the GrazGutschein, film productions for city centre businesses or another Summer-in-the-City campaign will be implemented so that we can provide the best possible support to retailers, restaurants and hotels.”
City manager Heimo Maieritsch: “We have to constantly monitor the situation in the city centre – which is why the external view from outside is also very important. At the same time, it is important to sustainably revitalise Graz city centre after the challenging months and to ensure that the added value stays in the region – for example with the popular GrazGutschein, which generated more than eight million euros in sales last year.”