Wollongong Central's occupancy rate is 98 per cent - but shooting for 100 per cent isn't likely.
Wollongong Central Marketing Manager Holly Howell said shopping centres almost never have 100 per cent occupancy, due to factors like staggered leases or holding a vacant shopfront to allow an existing tenant to plan a move.
The CBD shopping centre has come out of lockdown in the best possible way - with new stores opening up.
On Thursday, there were queues out the door waiting for JD Sports to open; the last time that happened was when H&M opened up.
Ms Howell said other brands like Seed, Seafolly, Burrito Bar and Elite Body Contouring would be opening in the coming weeks. as well as a new concept store for previous tenants Billabong.
There is also the possibility of a bowling alley in the vacant David Jones food hall next to Holey Moley - a development application has been lodged with Wollongong City Council.
"It is exciting to be able to present such strong brands to our centre and to be the first to welcome them within the Illawarra," Ms Howell said.
"The opening of the stores reflects the confidence the retail industry has moving forward following the pandemic period."
Ms Howell said there were some nerves over what would happen when the centre was re-opened after the lockdown.
"We learned a lot from last year, that things bounce back pretty quickly," Ms Howell said.
"So it's just riding that wave and having a glimmer of hope that when we do open things will return to normal pretty quickly."
The early signs are good; Ms Howell said there had been a 60 per cent growth in foot traffic throughout the centre over the past two weeks.
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I'm an award-winning senior journalist with the Illawarra Mercury and have well over two decades' worth of experience in newspapers. I cover the three local councils in the Illawarra for the Mercury, as well as writing for the TV guide. If I'm not writing, I'm reading.
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