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Melbourne by the numbers: The changing face of our CBD

Melbourne CBD streetscape is constantly changing and as one shop shuts and another opens, a tale of the city's past and future unfolds.

Think of the video rental outlet replaced by a supermarket as more people choose to live in the CBD than ever before.

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Melbourne's CBD by the numbers

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Every few years the Melbourne City Council surveys every square metre of land in the city, and this data is full of interesting facts that say a lot about where the city is at.

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Melbourne's CBD by the numbers

Every few years the Melbourne City Council surveys every square metre of land in the city, and this data is full of interesting facts that say a lot about where the city is at.

During the past 10 years, the City of Melbourne has tracked what has been built on every square metre of land in the city, and once you look at this data over the space of a decade, you can see just what has changed.

The sorts of businesses that are booming reflect Melbourne's ever-growing appetite for new food and a good cup of coffee, as well as its growing residential population.

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In the days before streaming services we spent ages picking out DVDs from video stores.

In the days before streaming services we spent ages picking out DVDs from video stores. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

But it is not all rosy. Some type of businesses are shutting up shop, assailed by changing consumer habits and the disruptive power of the internet.

We've analysed the figures, and here is what we have noticed about what is changing in the City of Melbourne.

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Video rental stores

2006: 11 stores. 2016: One store (now there are none).

The last video rental store in the City of Melbourne closed last year. This Queensberry Road outlet in North Melbourne has been replaced by a bicycle repair store.

The rise of streaming services such as Stan and Netflix, and the popularity of digital downloads, has decimated video rental chains such as Blockbuster, Network Video and Video Ezy. Much-loved independent stores in Northcote and Balaclava have also shut their doors in recent years.

Newspaper and book retailers

2006: 170. 2016: 100.

The Internet has badly impacted newsagents and bookstores. Online retailers such as Amazon can deliver books direct to your door, or you can just download entire libraries of reading material directly to your smart device.

There is no trace of Borders or Angus and Robertson bookstores in the city anymore, and the Angus and Robertson at the corner of Collins Street and Queen Street is now a Bank of China branch.

Bank branches

2006: 102. 2016: 92.

If you're with the Commonwealth Bank, NAB or ANZ, it's harder to find a bank branch in the city than it was 10 years ago. Only Westpac can be found at more city locations these days.

In 2006, there were 20 National Australia Bank branches in the city; now there are 14. The one that used to be at the corner of Bourke and Russell Streets has been converted into a Nando's.

With 20 locations in the City of Melbourne, the Commonwealth Bank wins out of the big four when it comes to having the most branches (unfortunately we do not have data on their respective ATM numbers)

Travel agencies

2006: 216 outlets. 2016: 159.

In 2006, you could book a holiday at one of the three Harvey World Travel outlets in the City of Melbourne. All three have since closed.

Many Harvey World Travel outlets were rebranded in 2013.

Many Harvey World Travel outlets were rebranded in 2013. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Online travel booking outlets mean holidaymakers can bypass travel agents altogether, while businesses are finding that teleconferencing removes the need for some cross country flights.

Pie Faces

2006: 0. 2016: Seven.

Pie Face was unheard of in Melbourne in 2006 and had seven outlets in 2016. That's pretty good growth, and puts it on par with the popular Grill'd burger chain.

But the days when there seemed to be a Pie Face popping up on every city corner are long gone.

This discount camera shop became a Pie Face but is now an EzyMart convenience store.

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When the company went into voluntary administration in 2014 there were 14 Pie Face locations in Melbourne, and since then their numbers have halved.

Women's clothing stores

2006: 271. 2016: 243.

When you compare 2006 to 2016 there doesn't seem to have been much change, but look what happens when you show the figures for every year in between.

The number of women's clothing outlets peaked at 362 in 2011, but the numbers have been declining ever since. IBISWorld retail analyst Lauren Magner said bricks-and-mortar retailers were struggling because of online stores, increased competition and an influx of big international retailers such as Zara, H&M and Uniqlo.

A Bettina Liano store, which closed down in Little Collin's street in 2013.

A Bettina Liano store, which closed down in Little Collin's street in 2013. Photo: Jason South

But it is not all doom and gloom for Melbourne businesses. Some types of retailers are thriving, while it's never been a better time to be a coffee connoisseur.

Cafe, restaurants and takeaway food outlets

2006: 1551. 2016: 2385

About one in eight businesses in the City of Melbourne is some kind of food or drink outlet. Food venues now outnumber shops, and one new cafe or restaurant opens up every week on average.

The foodie boom has been a boon to some coffee chains. The data shows there was one Degani Bakery Cafe in the city in 2006, but now there are 14. Over the same period, 'In A Rush' grew from having two outlets to 17.

But not every coffee chain is flourishing. American import Starbucks has all but pulled out of Australia, and now has half as many outlets in the city than it did 10 years ago.

There are five Starbucks in the city.

There are now five Starbucks in the city. Photo: Frinkiac

Melbourne's appetite for restaurants and takeaway food has also grown. Grill'd and Mad Mex were unheard of 10 years ago, but now there are seven Grill'ds and six Mad Mexs in the city.

This Curry Bar on Flinders Lane is now a Mad Mex.

And if you have a craving for a Boost Juice, some Gong Cha tea, a Subway sub or a Domino's pizza, there are more places to get your fix nowadays.

Pretty much the only fast food chain to have lost traction is McDonald's, which has one fewer outlet in the city than it did 10 years ago.

Hairdressing and beauty services

2006: 221. 2016: 359.

The number of hairdressers, day spas and nail salons in the city has only really surged in the city in the past few years.

In 2013, this A'Beckett shopfront was home to a video conversion business, but now it is a beauty salon that specialises in Korean eyelash extensions.

Ms Magner said the rising demand for beauty treatments came from from new pampering techniques, higher discretionary income and a growing population. But she said a market had opened up as well – men. "The industry has benefited from more males heading to stylists, salons or high-end barbers, with a spike in the number of male-only establishments," she said.

Real estate services

2006: 176. 2016: 284.

Almost 14,000 new apartments have been built in the CBD in nearly 15 years and there are now about 70,000 homes in the City of Melbourne. And there are more on the way – the council's own projections suggest another 70,000 dwellings could be built in the coming years (provided everything gets approved and developers follow through on their plans)

Against this backdrop, it's little wonder that more real estate agents and property management firms are setting up shop in the city.

Supermarkets and grocery stores

2006: 53. 2016: 100.

As more people have moved into the city, more supermarkets and grocery stores have popped up to keep all these residents fed. For example, There were two Safeways in the city in 2006, but now there are seven Woolworths.

Asian supermarkets are also popping up to feed hungry expats and international students. There are now 18 in the City of Melbourne, more than double the number in 2006.

Footwear retailing

45 in 2006, 112 in 2016.

The number of shoe stores in the city has more than doubled in the past decade. As of 2016 there were five Hype DC sports shoe stores, five Platypus Shoes streetwear outlets (including one pop-up store) and 12 shops that specialise in ugg boots.

Ms Magner said shoe stores had benefited from new hybrid revenue models, where people come to a store to try on the shoes and then order their pair online. This cuts down on the space retailers need for storing inventory, which has made it cheaper to run a shoe store.

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