By Craig Zammit and agencies

SYDNEY: Australia’s bulky goods investment sector has shown continued growth over recent weeks with more than $160 million being poured into homemaker centres across the country.

With well located centres positioned in strong catchment areas continuing to attract strong demand from private and institutional investors, experienced investors, Ticor Developments, has recently purchased Penrith’s At Home MegaCentre for $55 million.

“The acquisition of Penrith was strategic and in line with our philosophy to invest in large centres that dominate their catchment now and well into the future,” Ticor retail property principal, Tony Benjamin recently told The Financial Review.

“There is a lot of negative sentiment surrounding the bulky goods market at present.

“However, we believe that there are strong fundamentals which underpin this sector – you just have to follow the strong performance of retailers like Harvey Norman, The Good Guys and JB Hi-Fi.”

Other recent acquisitions include Abacus Property Group’s $36 million purchase of the Moorabbin centre in Melbourne, Becton Retail Property Trust outlaying $14.5 million for a new centre in Thornton, New South Wales and Cromwell Corporation’s $58 million purchase of Homeworks Prospect in Sydney’s outer west.

In NSW a new definition of bulky goods has been welcomed and endorsed by the Bulky Goods Retailers Association (BGRA) and the NSW Urban Taskforce, in the hope it will create jobs and remove uncertainty within the state.

The bulky goods retail sector, which in NSW accounts for over $11.8 billion and employs up to 40,000 people annually, had its new definition officially gazetted in the NSW Standard Instrument (Local Environmental Plans) Order 2006.

“We congratulate the planning minister Frank Sartor and his department for the inclusion of this definition within the Local Environment Plans (LEP),” said BGRA executive director, Philippa Kelly.

“While it’s too early to understand the full impact, early indications from our members seeking planning approvals in NSW are positive.”

BGRA members said the definition allowed for the dynamic nature of bulky goods retailing and the continued growth of the sector.