Australia’s busiest retail precinct will be activated by live music, events and performances, thanks to a new City of Sydney program designed to support the local retail sector.

Retailers will be offered the use of Pitt Street Mall free of charge for events in a bid to draw more shoppers to the city centre. The program will see up to 12 events held during an initial 12-month trial.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the initiative is part of the City’s ongoing support for the local retail sector and the thousands of Sydneysiders it employs.

“Pitt Street Mall is Australia’s premier retail destination, and we want to ensure it retains this status by helping local retailers attract more residents, workers and visitors,” the Lord Mayor said.

“This program makes it easy and affordable for both large and small retailers to connect with more than 65,000 pedestrians who travel through the mall each day, as well as attract new visitors to the area.

“We encourage retailers to work together and think creatively about how they can use the mall to encourage more people to spend time in the precinct, and hopefully boost the local economy by spending money in nearby stores.”

The program has been developed in partnership with the City’s Retail Advisory Panel, which was established in 2010 to provide the City with specialist advice on how it can further support Sydney’s retail sector.

It follows the release of the City’s first Retail Action Plan late last year, which highlights the importance of creating innovative experiences that encourage shoppers to visit bricks-and-mortar retailers.

Margy Osmond, chair of the City’s Retail Advisory Panel and CEO of the Australian National Retail Association (ANRA) said: “ANRA is thrilled to support this initiative which will reinvigorate the city centre into a thriving hub of retail activity.

“A thriving retail sector is vitally important to the economy of the city, and Pitt Street Mall is the retail core of the city district with more than 36 per cent of CBD businesses retail related.

“Retailers are operating in a world where shoppers want more from their retail experience than ever before and this program will provide a boost to the precinct and generate new attention for and interest in the area – attracting shoppers to the city rather than online.”

John Warn, regional general manager of Scentre Group, which operates Westfield Sydney, said: “At Westfield Sydney, our customers want the best shopping, dining and entertainment experience. 

“We love bringing our shoppers exciting and innovative events including the first Magnum ice-cream pop-up store, Vogue Fashion’s Night Out, celebrity appearances by our fashion ambassadors and more.

“We are pleased with this initiative by the City of Sydney and look forward to creating an even more exciting shopping and entertainment destination for our local and international customers.”

The program is one of many City of Sydney initiatives to support business, which also include: 

  • Contributing $220 million towards the George Street light rail project being delivered by the NSW Government;
  • ‘ChinaConnect’ seminars to help businesses across Sydney tap into the Chinese tourist boom during the busy Christmas and Chinese New Year period;
  • Special campaigns during major events like Fashion Week, Christmas and Sydney Good Food Month; and
  • Sponsoring the ‘excellence in small business’ category in the 2014 NSW Business Chamber Awards, which recognises successful companies with less than 20 employees.

Source: City of Sydney media release