The news Myer was exiting Wollongong came a little out of the blue.

While the retailer will maintain a strong presence in the region with thestore at Stocklands Shellharbour, the move opens the door for a city shake-up.

There have been persistent rumours now for sometime a major international retailer was eyeing off the Illawarra.

This may well allow that to happen.

In an online poll of readers on what people would like to see come to the Illawarra, fashion retailer H&M was a clear choice.

Whether the Illawarra gets its wish, only time will tell.

The Swedish chain has been rapidly expanding throughout Australia and there were chaotic scenes in Sydney when it opened its flagship store in the Pitt St Mall last year.

“Myers’ decision to leave will come with an inevitable period of transition, but also opens up space and opportunity for other major brands and retailers,” Illawarra property council Jancey Mailinssaid.

“This decision will result in a major shake up in the Wollongong retail portfolio, and enable an update of the current department store locations which have occupied the same extensive floor space … for many years.

“The upcoming announcement of an international fashion store coming to Wollongong, signifies that there is sufficient consumer and investor confidence in the recently upgraded and expanded Wollongong.”

Naturally, it will be a difficult time for those workers in Myer in Wollongong.

The company is offering some other opportunities and certain new retailers would also provide new employment opportunities.

“Around 130Myerworkers have today been given the news that their stores are closing,” NSW Secretary of the SDA BernieSmith said.

“This is absolutely devastating for workers, their families and local communities. Many workers have been atMyerfor years – decades in some cases – so this will hit some families and local communities very hard.

“Myeris a major employer in these areas, so the news will have a real impact on a lot of people.

“The union’s focus now is on providing as much assistance as possible to affected workers.”

Hopefully it proves to be a transition period and the CBD ends up better off.

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