LAUNCESTON needs to expand beyond the Brisbane Street Mall to create a greater retail experience, Knight Frank Tasmania director Robert Dixon says.
The call follows news that national retail chains are looking at the city's empty central retail spaces, including Country Road Australia which plans to bring its four brands to town.
Mr Dixon said properties that did not meet retailer requirements contributed as much to Launceston's vacancy situation as the poor retail climate.
``There is a good level of demand from national retailers and it would be fair to say that demand is outstripping supply,'' he said.
Mr Dixon said national chains had a preference to be close to the mall in 200-square-metre stores with good frontage.
He said this meant that they looked beyond much of the city's retail vacancies, deemed too small.
``National retailers are only focused on our prime space and much of the vacancy lies in the inferior secondary grade retail offerings,'' Mr Dixon said.
``Much of the vacant space around Launceston does not fit the criteria of what the nationals are looking for in location as much of our vacancy is outside the Mall-Avenue strip.''
Mr Dixon said rental values for prime retail space in general had not been lowered, though some tenants of weaker sites had enjoyed some relief, like 15 per cent rental cuts, fit-out assistance or rent free periods.
He said the Launceston City Council with retailers and landlords needed to create a greater retail experience beyond the mall.
``There are many, many more retailers looking to establish in Launceston due to our demographics, however, the experience is not there for them at the moment,'' he said.
Council general manager Robert Dobrzynski said the council agreed.
He said having the central business district retained as an iconic retail precinct was a primary component in the council's 30-year strategy, the Greater Launceston Plan, which is set to be released in October.
``Ultimately the (plan) will deliver a master plan for redevelopment of the CBD which will be `investment-ready' to take to the federal and state governments to seek supporting funding in partnership with council,'' Mr Dobrzynski said.
``The council believes that the CBD needs to be maintained as the jewel in the crown for Launceston, capitalising on its iconic architecture, riverfront proximity and developing public infrastructure that is contemporary and provides a must-visit feel.''
3p Consulting plans to release a pop-up store project later this month in an effort to fill the city's small retail vacancies.
Consultancy director Michelle Strickland said several landlords and prospective business owners had already expressed interest.