It’s the retail equivalent of John Farnham’s “last ever” tour – the “closing down sale” for a shop that never seems to close down.
Well, for one of Sydney’s longest-running closing down sales, the show is almost over.
Empress Rugs in Rozelle has had end-of-lease or closing-down signage up since 2008, and in 2018 the building will celebrate its 10th year of closing down by finally shutting up shop.
The Roads and Maritime Service has confirmed the Victoria Road site is part of its acquisition of land for WestConnex.
Iranian-born Frank Nasre, who came to Australia in 1995, brought his Empress Rugs business to Sydney from Melbourne around 2005. Three years later, chronic health problems and frustration with the local market led to his decision to close it.
But, as he told Fairfax Media, after purchasing signage advertising the closing down sale he was convinced instead to keep the shop open and hand over its management. That way he could keep family members employed at the business.
Google Maps shows the shop in April 2008, before the closing down signs went up.
“Different people have come and gone but the signage has been on the shop,” he said.
More recently added is a sign noting the WestConnex acquisition and a “demolition sale” sign. Mr Nasre expects to close the shop around April.
The longevity of the closing down sale hasn’t gone unnoticed by locals – the shop has even had graffiti scrawled on its wall: “closing down since 2008”.
Google Maps shows the end of lease signs in 2013.
Lyssa Tredgett, 30, is a lifelong resident of Rozelle. She says she’s never been inside the shop, but locals joke about how long it’s been closing down.
“At one point in Rozelle we had three major corners housing rug shops – we thought, ‘Who’s buying all these rugs?’.
“When that particular shop said it was closing down we looked forward to it, waiting to see what might be there next,” she said. But it never did close – and now, “every time you see anywhere closing down, you’re suss because of ‘that rug shop in Rozelle’.”
According to the ACCC, businesses can be found to have misled consumers about prices if they promote a “sale” or “special” price which is not in fact a temporary sale price, thus creating an unwarranted sense of urgency to make an immediate purchase.
Still closing in September 2016.
A spokesperson from Fair Trading NSW said it had received three complaints since January 1, 2016, about businesses advertising closing down sales while continuing to trade. “Complaints relate to a cake maker, carpet store, and discount store,” she said.
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