Confronted by a challenging retail environment and increased competition, Subiaco businesses have joined forces to give the area back its "mojo".
Hay Street, which retailers say can often resemble a ghost town, yesterday came alive with a high tea, fashion sale, food stalls and vintage market attracting hundreds of people.
The event was the brainchild of the Pro Subi group.
In a first for the area, Hay Street was closed between Rokeby and Townshend roads and transformed into a marketplace and outdoor dining area where more than 350 people dressed in their Sunday best enjoyed a high tea, champagne and live music.
Local businesses held sales in stalls outside their stores, joined by vintage markets, food vans and an outdoor bar in the carpark of the Subiaco Hotel.
The non-profit marketing body is planning a few events as part of a new push to rejuvenate the precinct and attract people back to the area.
Pro Subi executive officer Annaliese Doesburg said it was no secret that retailers were struggling.
"A combination of high rents, staff costs and the increasing popularity of online shopping has hit retailers hard," Ms Doesburg said.
"Events like this are an easy way to inject vibrancy into the area."
Retailer Dave Ridgeway, who owns Jack Clothing on Hay Street, said trade had been flat along the shopping strip in recent months.
"Subi has lost its mojo a little bit, we really have to try and get more events like this to encourage young people back to live and shop and party here," he said.
"There is nothing to bring people into Subiaco on a Sunday, so if things like this are happening on a regular basis, it might help to change that and get the vibe back."
Mr Ridgeway said suburbs such as Claremont, Mt Lawley, Leederville, Maylands and the up-and-coming Victoria Park had captured a big portion of the youth market.
Emporia boutique owner Toni Manolas said businesses had to work harder to attract customers.
"Beaufort Street and Claremont have been doing this kind of (event) for quite some time," she said. "We are rising to meet the challenge."
Raimond Castelleno, of Raimonds clothing store, agreed.
"It brings people in to see what Subiaco is showcasing, which is fantastic," he said.
"I think this should be a regular thing."Ms Doesburg said twilight food markets, a carnival-themed street festival and performing arts events were among other projects planned for Subiaco in coming months.
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