CBD occupancy rates rise again as spending increases

Published on 25 January 2024

Mayor and Council staff walking along Keen Street

Lismore CBD occupancy rates continue to edge closer to pre-February 2022 levels with local businesses experiencing an increase in customer spending, according to two reports.

A Lismore City Council CBD Audit in the days leading up to Christmas found 73.4% of all inner CBD premises are now occupied. This is an increase from 70.1% when the audit was last conducted in late June.

The occupancy rate of CBD shopfronts jumped 7.3% from June to 68.8%, while upstairs rates fell 1.2% over the same period due to CBD office renovations as the city renews.

Lismore Mayor Steve Krieg said the strong result showed business confidence was returning to the CBD following the worst natural disaster in Australia’s recorded history.

“This is great news. Despite rising interest rates and other economic pressures, businesses are returning to the CBD. Now, more so than ever, it’s important to shop local,” he said.

“I would like to thank our local businesses for re-investing in our city and community.”

In another positive sign of the Lismore’s recovery, an independent analysis of credit card expenditure in the CBD during December found a 6 per cent increase in total spending compared with a year ago, this includes a 22% increase in dining and entertainment.

Significantly, the report found spending by visitors to our city jumped 13%, compared with December 2022.

“These reports show not only is Lismore open for business, but importantly locals and tourists are returning to the CBD to support our businesses and economy,” Mayor Krieg said.

Across the Lismore Local Government Area, spending increased by a total of 3.89%, with visitor spending increasing 12.75%.

“Leading up to Christmas, Council organised numerous events to encourage locals and tourists to do their Christmas shopping in the CBD, including two Lismore Delights weekends and the popular Carols in the Heart, which was obviously successful,” Mayor Krieg said.

An estimated 3800 people Carols in the Heart and 1500 visited Santa’s Wonderland to meet Santa, with more than 600 youngsters claiming prizes in the popular cheeky Elf Hunt.

The Lismore CBD Audit covers central portions of Keen, Molesworth, Woodlark, Conway, Magellan and Carrington Streets. Below are the street-by-street occupation rates at December 2023, compared with June 2023:

  • Keen Street occupancy rate – 81.1% (up from 74.5%)
  • Molesworth Street occupancy rate – 74% (up from 73.6)
  • Conway Street occupancy rate – 72.1% (up from 69.2%)
  • Carrington Street occupancy rate – 73.1% (up from 69.3%)
  • Magellan Street occupancy rate – 76.3% (up from 62.7%)
  • Woodlark Street occupancy rate – 60.7% (up from 60.2%)

This is the fourth Lismore CBD Audit following the 2022 natural disaster, with previous audits undertaken in June and January 2023 and August 2022, and February 2022 (immediately prior to the February disaster). The same area of the Lismore CBD has been audited by Council staff each year since 2017.

Picture from left: Lismore City Council General Manager Jon Gibbons, CBD Activation Officer Kathryn Gray, Councillor Andrew Bing and Mayor Steve Krieg.


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