Customers flocked to shopping centres this weekend after the government lifted restrictions on non-essential shopping.
Customers flocked to shopping centres this weekend after the government lifted restrictions on non-essential shopping.

‘Crazy busy’: Customers return to shopping centres

FOOT traffic in shopping centres has spiked since the easing of restrictions to allow non-essential shopping.

Approximately half of retailers are now open at two of the southeast's major shopping centres.

At Indooroopilly Shopping Centre, 150 of 297 stores were open yesterday, up from just 95 store open mid last week.

Police were today spotted ensuring people maintained social distancing as shops saw the largest Tuesday crowds since before coronavirus movement restrictions began.

Meanwhile, a count by The Courier-Mail at Westfield Chermside Shopping Centre found approximately half of the shopping centre's 470 speciality stores were open.

Retail giants Kmart, Target, JB-Hi, Rebel, Mecca, Harris Scarfe, David Jones and H & M were open at both locations.

Shoppers at Indooroopilly Shopping Centre on Tuesday, May 5. Picture: Danielle O'Neal
Shoppers at Indooroopilly Shopping Centre on Tuesday, May 5. Picture: Danielle O'Neal

Among the retailers that remained closed were nail salons, tattoo stores, Sephora, Uniqlo, Cotton-On, Apple (will reopen on Thursday) and Myer (although they are offering 'click and collect' outside of each store).

Damon Pownell, owner of Ghost Armor Chermside, said foot traffic had reduced to "near nothing" at the end of March but that today the centre was "on par" with a regular Tuesday prior to coronavirus.

"The last week it has spiked," he said.

"Sunday was crazy busy, I normally close at 4pm and I didn't leave here until 6.30pm.

"Around the major retailers like Target and Kmart, people were lined up like 200m."

People waiting to enter Kmart at Westfield Chermside on Tuesday. Picture: Danielle O'Neal
People waiting to enter Kmart at Westfield Chermside on Tuesday. Picture: Danielle O'Neal

Mr Pownell said his sales figures last week were similar to before the virus.

"There is a sense of relief that now I've got regular income coming back in and regular sales," he said.

"People are out are there spending money and all the small stores are telling me they're doing good business."

Dozens of people were lined up waiting to enter Kmart, where only 250 customers are allowed in the store at once.

Shoppers at Westfield Chermside on Tuesday. Picture: Danielle O'Neal
Shoppers at Westfield Chermside on Tuesday. Picture: Danielle O'Neal

Among them was Mum Annette Vidaic, 58, who said it was "almost too busy" at Westfield Chermside and she hoped people were not just coming to the shops without a purpose.

"I hope people are actually come to get things that they need," she said.

Several other retailers told The Courier Mail that weekend sales were high but weekday trade for them was not at normal levels yet.

"It's better than what it has been, but it's still quiet," a saleswoman, from Manchester Importers in Indooroopilly Shopping Centre, said.

"We are in a quiet corridor of the centre, so there's still not as much foot traffic."

Food courts are deserted and cinemas remain shut, with most of the shops near those locations still closed.

In the food precinct at Westfield Chermside - normally one of the busiest sections of the shopping centre - green space is taped off and the majority of restaurants remain closed.

Originally published as 'Crazy busy': customers return to shopping centres



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