IKEA opening to fuel Coast shops' war with North Lakes

The Sunshine Plaza.
The Sunshine Plaza.

SUNSHINE Coast shopping centres' war with Westfield North Lakes is set to raise a notch when IKEA opens at Westfield next month.

The Swedish flat-pack furniture giant and department store is set to open on November 17, raising fears among Coast retailers that local shoppers will be lured away.

But managers of two of the Sunshine Coast shopping centres say they're are up to the challenge.

Still, Kawana Shoppingworld centre manager Kim MacKay admitted he was worried.

Kawana Shoppingworld was an "everyday local shop", Mr MacKay said. It needed the plaza expansion as much as shoppers did.

"I want the Plaza to do wonderful things because I think there's a huge threat from North Lakes," he said.

"The more we can put on the Coast, the better it is for Coast residents."

He said "contrary to popular belief", Kawana Shoppingworld did not view Sunshine Plaza as a rival, but an ally.

Sunshine Plaza manager Michael Manwaring said the plaza's $400 million, 100-shop redevelopment would hugely increase its offering, while bringing department store giant David Jones to the Sunshine Coast for the first time.

Do you prefer to shop on the Sunshine Coast or travel to North Lakes?

It's full steam ahead with the plaza redevelopment, he said, with the first multi-level car park to be unveiled in the middle of next year.

Mr Manwaring didn't shy away from the stiff competition at North Lakes and Brisbane shopping centres.

"Brisbane is one of the largest competitor markets for us," he said. "That's part of the reason for the redevelopment - we know we need to bring in a better offer.

"We're bringing in more shops for people, to save them the need for that journey."

He acknowledged the challenge faced by shoppers - working professionals, for example -who found the current range at the plaza limited.

"We're still working on our tenancy mix but we'll be aiming to bring broad brands, especially in fashion."

Both shopping centres are boosting their entertainment offerings, with a new 10-screen cinema planned to open at Kawana in mid-2018. Construction on this project would start soon, Mr MacKay said.

Birch Carroll and Coyle Maroochydore is currently undertaking a major refit, which is set to be complete in December in time for Christmas school holidays and Boxing Day new releases.

Sunshine Coast Chambers of Commerce Alliance president Michael Shadforth said the redevelopments would also benefit town "high streets" such as Bulcock St, in Caloundra.

"The Sunny Coast surprises people when they come here, in terms of what's on offer now, especially in our food and beverage market, and entertainment."

With the Christmas trading period upon us, now's the time to show your support for the Coast's small businesses and shop locally.

Topics:  kawana shoppingworld shopping shopping centre sunshine plaza sunshine plaza redevelopment

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