Calling for closer pet care

2017-05-16 06:00

Pet shops may be the next boom in CBD retail, if residents have their way.

Each year since 2013, the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) has been conducting a survey of residents of the city centre.

Although only a dipstick, the survey provides valuable knowledge of how CBD residents feel about living downtown and, in particular, what they would like to see change to improve their lifestyle.

In the most recent survey, published in the CCID’s State of Cape Town central city report: 2016 – A year in review, residents in all suburbs of the city indicated they wanted to see longer trading hours. “We always hope that the information that comes out of the residential survey is seen by entrepreneurs as possible business opportunities. For example, one of the sections that gets the most traction each year deals with the retail environment. We ask respondents both which type of retail they currently shop at the most as well as what they would like to see more of,” says Carola Koblitz, CCID spokesperson and editor of the report.

The past year, respondents said the shops they visited the most in the CBD were grocery stores, large chain retailers and takeaway outlets, with small boutiques coming in closely in fourth place, says Koblitz.

“In terms of what they wanted to see more of, the top request was to see retail that offered extended shopping hours beyond the normal weekday ‘eight to five’ and over weekends,” she says.

She says the number of retailers extending their opening hours is slowly increasing, with almost a third of retail businesses indicating they already stay open later than 17:00 and as many being open over the weekends.

However, this “continues to be top of the list of ‘asks’ year on year [and] shows us that the opportunity is not yet being fully realised by the retail community,” Koblitz says.

For the first time last year residents listed veterinarian services and pet shops as outlets they would welcome in the CBD.

This is not surprising, Koblitz says.

“[This] makes sense to us when you realise that as many as 29% of all respondents indicated they currently have pets in spite of the fact that they are living in apartments – mostly cats but quite a number also have dogs. And rabbits! So the request for vets and pet shops is really gaining traction,” she says.

According to the survey, the majority of pets live on the Foreshore (where 40% of residents have pets), shortly followed by the two inner-city areas. And the market for pet products spans further than just CBD residents, Koblitz says.

“Many daytime office workers who commute from other areas into the CBD also have pets and would probably welcome the opportunity to do their ‘pet shopping’ during their lunch breaks. Just as in the same way they would benefit from longer trading hours and be able to do their shopping in the CBD after work, thus also avoiding the rush hour.”

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