What prompted this blog is the news that Suzanne Grae has been obliged to leave the Chadstone Mall because it is in the way. So now that Diana Ferrari and Suzanne Grae have been ousted, two of Melbourne’s most popular brands have gone elsewhere.
This is surprising because Chadstone is the largest of all the malls in Australia, but apparently can no longer accommodate two of our iconic clothing outlets for those women who don’t want to look as if they are going up in space as is evident in the Moncler store, for example, or the satirical fashions by Miu Miu.
I was hoping that when the owners of “The Chadstone Fashion Capital” finished expanding their huge mall they would improve the shopping experience for their customers.
Sadly, this has not been the case because the Chadstone managers obviously do not have the interests of the shoppers at heart. Their main interest is in leasing stores in the mall. It is obvious that the comfort and the experience of the customers do not matter to the current managers.
In the older part of the mall, the same decrepit conveniences are still there. When I complained about the lack of clean facilities for shoppers I was informed that all the money has been spent on a new transparent roof (big deal) and on extending the Centre.
The extension is not much and does look like a Chinatown with a lack of choice of eateries unless you are into noodles and rice. As for the fashions the new area hosts the cheap brands which are really not as good as either Diana Ferrari or Suzanne Grae. So go figure…
I do wonder if the Chinese tourists who are bussed in with their tour leaders are keen to see a replica of where they come from or would they prefer something more Australian? After all, if they have made the long journey from China surely they have come to see a different culture. Otherwise, why bother?
Anyhow, when I visit Westfield’s Southland and Doncaster Shopping Malls I am always impressed by the effort that Westfield has gone to in order to make the shoppers comfortable. Smart and numerous places to rest while shopping, modernised and clean toilet facilites and a feeling of welcome is what I observe.
It is a pleasure to walk around and enjoy our time spent shopping in these two centres.
Whereas the top floor in the Chadstone Mall is meant to attract the foreign (Chinese) visitors the truth is that these pretentious stores remain empty most of the time. The staff stand around trying to look busy , but how much dusting can one do? Occasionally, a group of Asian visitors are brought in to queue up outside the store and one by one they enter with the security guards monitoring them. It is certainly pretty embarrassing.
What a pity that the renovations at Chadstone have alienated the traditional shoppers who were hoping for an improvement instead of the cheap bargain basement seating, lack of variety and hardly any Aussie atmosphere.
My advice to the managers and owners of Chadstone is be kind to your shoppers, treat them with respect and appreciate their value to your business. Take a lesson from Westfield.