Dymocks to close
DYMOCKS will close its Fremantle store by the end of the financial year due to high rent.
It is the latest in a string of retailers to abandon the port city because of rent demands which traders say bear no relationship to trading reality.
The rent and “outgoings” charge for Dymocks’ High Street mall shop is believed to be around $4000 a week, plus GST.
Over the past four years trade has dropped, with Sunday sales halving since trading was deregulated.
Clive Klicker’s family has owned and run the Fremantle franchise for 10 years.
He says he tried for six months to negotiate a more reasonable lease with the Manning Trust, which owns the building.
“The negotiations went nowhere,” he told the Herald.
“This is a difficult decision for us because we could sign another lease and struggle along for another five years waiting for Fremantle to change, but we could lose our homes and lose our assets.
“If we waited another five years for it to change, that would mean paying our landlord almost a million just for the privilege of staying here.”
The store employs nine people—most have worked there for years—and the Klicker family is trying desperately to find them new jobs before the shop closes.
Three permanent staff have found other jobs but six casuals are still looking.
Mr Klicker is also angry with police and the council for failing to deal with drunks and yobs in the mall. “Last week I had a drunk person pour bourbon and Coke all over my uniform,” he told the Herald.
“The week before I had someone try to damage the counter and pull the computers off and threaten my staff. All during the day. The staff were terrified. They were in tears.”
He says the council has neglected the mall, which used to be Fremantle’s premier shopping experience.
“I’ve seen other parts of Fremantle getting new paving, chairs and bins,” he says.
“The High Street Mall is bit of an access point and people might not shop in the mall but they pass through it.
“It is giving them an impression of Fremantle and it’s an unpleasant one.
“I’ve been really disappointed we have not seen any new chairs or bins and even with the Christmas decorations they spent a fortune on that tree in Kings Square, and the lovely trees in the High Street Mall got nothing.”
Mr Klicker says there is nothing special for the shopper in the port city these days.
“Why bother coming all the way down here when you have to pay for parking, there is anti-social behaviour?
“There is a whole bunch of reasons for not coming down here and instead driving to somewhere like Garden City.
“Our customers are saying this. Why bother coming in when there is next to nothing left?”
by BRENDAN FOSTER