The City of Melbourne and the Victorian government are working hard to ensure Melbourne retains its title as the retail capital of Australia.

The newly released Melbourne Retail and Hospitality Strategy 2013-2017 has determined the retail sector, coupled with hospitality, contributed $8.7 billion to the City of Melbourne’s $86 billion public economy each year.

Additionally, there has been a 51 per cent increase in the number of retail and hospitality outlets in the last ten years, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle revealed in a November 21 media release.

The more than 5,100 outlets in the municipality employ over 60,000 staff, which is an increase of 48 per cent over 10 years.

Mr Doyle believes these figures show the retail and hospitality sectors are “a powerhouse for the Melbourne economy.”

“The Melbourne Retail and Hospitality Strategy 2013-2017 is a road map for the next four years for the Council and the State Government to guide and promote further growth,” he said.

As part of the new city-wide hospitality and retail strategy, the council and government will work with businesses to encourage collaboration and innovation by improving government support systems.

The new program will also work on finding new ways to attract visitors to the city and enhance customer experiences, including using retail marketing to encourage tourism to the area.

There are thousands of uniquely Melbourne shopping and dining experiences to enjoy alongside the international retailers and iconic department stores. The key to the new strategy is to preserve Melbourne’s diverse and authentic character.

Council initiatives such as the small business and social enterprise grants, Look.Stop.Shop and the Lord Mayor’s Commendations are already focused on improving the city’s economic prosperity.

Marketing Melbourne Portfolio Chair Beverly Pinder Mortimer recognised there are many reasons why Melbourne is considered the number one retail and hospitality destination in Australia

“Melbourne business owners are innovative, creative and committed to ensuring the continued growth of the city’s excellent reputation in these sectors,” she said.

“We encourage all retail and hospitality businesses to be a part of this strategy and to get involved in the marketing and promotion of the city.”