According to Baker Consulting (2018) there were 1,630 shopping centres in Australia which exceeded 1,000 square metres of gross lettable area (GLA). These comprised:

  • 78 Regional shopping centres (i.e. those that include at least one department store);
  • 291 Sub Regional centres (i.e. those that include at least one discount department store as the major anchor tenant);
  • 1,120 Neighbourhood or supermarket-based shopping centres (i.e. those that include at least one supermarket as the major anchor tenant); and
  • 96 CBD centres.

Note: This data excludes Homemaker, Themed and Factory Outlet centres.

These shopping centres comprise more than 65,000 speciality shops. The advantage for retailers who lease space in shopping centres is that customer foot traffic can be much higher and more concentrated than in other retail locations. Leasehold also has the advantage that retailers don’t have to utilise capital to buy freehold, thereby reducing their property risk. This means the real estate risk is being carried by the investors in the shopping centre, not by the retailer.

According to ICSC Research, Australian shopping centres (including Homemaker, Themed and Factory Outlet centres) contain around 26.5 million square metres of GLA, which accounts for approximately 46 per cent of the total retail space in Australia. This equates to approximately 106 square metres of GLA per 100 people in Australia, which is relatively high by world standards although not as high as in the USA and Canada. Below is a table of selected comparable markets:

Country Market Size Population sq m of GLA
(million sq m) (million) per 100 Persons
USA 703.3 327.2 215
Canada 57.6 36.9 156
Australia 26.5 25.0 106
Singapore 2.8 5.2 54
New Zealand 2.2 4.4 50
United Kingdom 28.7 66.5 43
Japan 51.7 126.9 41
France 27.0 67.1 40
China 356.0 1,374.6 26
Germany 17.5 83.0 21
Source: ICSC Research – latest available Country Fact Sheet for each country.

In 2018, total retail sales made through Australian shopping centres was estimated to be $141 billion, which was equivalent to 7.4 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product.

The ‘Retail Trade’ sector accounts for 10.2 per cent of the Australian workforce and approximately two thirds of which are employed in shopping centres. ‘Retail Trade’ is the single highest private sector contributor to employment in Australia.

According to the publication SCN (Shopping Centre News), the five largest shopping centres in the year to December 2018 by moving annual turnover were:

  • Chadstone (Melbourne) $2.135 billion (215,056 sq m GLA)
  • Westfield Sydney (Sydney) $1.252 billion (166,340 sq m GLA)
  • Westfield Bondi Junction (Sydney) $1.145 billion (131,190 sq m GLA)
  • Westfield Fountain Gate (Melbourne) $1.053 billion (177,291 sq m GLA)
  • Westfield Chermside (Queensland) $1.025 billion (176,931 sq m GLA)

The five largest shopping centre owners, by total GLA, are:

  • Scentre Group
  • Vicinity Centres
  • Stockland
  • QIC Global Real Estate
  • GPT Group

Updated October 2019

Data Sources: SCCA Research, Australian Bureau of Statistics, ICSC Research, Shopping Centre News, Baker Consulting