Monday, 13 November 2017

1992: The end of Grace Bros Broadway

In November 1992, Grace Bros closed its flagship store at Broadway after 107 years of trading on the site.

Source: Molloy, R. 1992. "Graceful Departure: Staff give their regards to Broadway". The Daily Telegraph Mirror, November 6: 7. 

In the lead up to its closure, there were specials to rid the store of stock and on its final day (November 8), the bargains got bigger. A special lunch had also taken place in the former auditorium.

Source: Coles Myer Ltd. 1992. "Broadway Closing Sale Ends November 8 (Advertisement). The Sunday Telegraph, November 1: 12.

As for its demise? It can be said that it began as early as 1933 when trams were diverted away from the store. The Sydney Harbour Bridge had opened the previous year and other transport changes saw retailing drift away from Central and Broadway towards midtown.

But it was the 1980's that began the beginning of the end. In 1983, Grace Bros was purchased by Myer. Myer had a store in Pitt Street (accquired through the purchase of Farmers decades earlier) which was the flagship store for Myer (Farmers).

On January 22, 1992, it was announced that the "Model Store" would close by January 1993. Less retailing space was required along with increasing costs of maintaining a presence at Broadway. Grace Bros was prepared to consider opening a store in the inner west if a suitable site was found. Otherwise, shoppers would have to head to either Pitt Street, Burwood or Bondi Junction.

Employees at Broadway were to be redeployed to Burwood and Bondi Junction. No one lost their job.

In 1998, one of the buildings was incorporated into the new Broadway Shopping Centre while the other building was converted into student accomodation - UniLodge to cater to students attending universities nearby.

Both buildings are currently heritage listed.

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