Jovie Tseng will close her Muffin Break franchise after six years of operation. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
While other retailers await a Boxing Day rush, Jovie Tseng is shutting up shop for good.
The franchisee of Muffin Break at Civic's Canberra Centre will close the business today after six years of successful trade.
Rising rents and the cost of parking have made the business ''unsustainable''.
And Ms Tseng Ms Tseng - who has owned hospitality businesses in Canberra and Queanbeyan since 2001 - is not alone.
Two other stores in the general foods section of the centre are closing or changing hands in the new year, and other owners are considering their options as they try to renegotiate their leases.
''The rent has become too high,'' Ms Tseng said.
''Every year it goes up according to CPI but they're expecting a very large increase.
''The parking is also ridiculous.
''The centre is losing business because the car park is expensive and you still have to pay in the city.'' Gourmet City deli owner Scott Gorham said the business had also opted not to renew its lease and would just retain one store in Belconnen, where business was stronger.
Mr Gorham said there was a lack of ''foot traffic'' in Civic because Canberrans were choosing to take their money elsewhere.
He put the problem down to parking fees at the Canberra Centre and the rising price of spaces in government-owned car parks in Civic.
On January 2, the cost of parking in government-owned spaces will rise to $13.50 for an all-day space and $12.50 for four hours.
''They [customers] don't want to pay for parking as soon as they get here,'' he said.
''They can go to the airport, which is just 8 kilometres away and has free parking.''
Other retailers spoke of a general slump in trade. Majestic Fresh owner Helen Chu said customers were being careful with their spending and her Christmas sales were down on last year.
''Basically this Christmas has not been as busy as we had hoped,'' she said. ''We were planning on big days but our trade the last few days has been down on last year.''
Fresko Fresh Seafood owner Jenny Micilos is selling the business but said the store would not be closing.
''Times are tough for everybody,'' she said. Too many new shops are opening elsewhere where people can park for free.''
Comment was sought from the Canberra Centre.