Despite continuing economic and consumer worries, there’s still plenty of demand for top-notch retail real estate in New York.
“Retail rents are now well above their all-time highs, approaching $3,000 per square foot on [upper] Fifth Avenue and $2,000 per square foot in Times Square,” said David Greenbaum, president of Vornado Realty Trust’s New York division, on a conference call detailing the company’s third-quarter results. “The [New York] retail market is very strong, driven by the continued growth in tourism, which is expected to reach 52 million visitors this year.”
Rents on Fifth Avenue from 42nd Street to 51st Street have almost doubled over the last year, said Greenbaum. Vornado has also seen retail strength on Madison Avenue and in Times Square.
And the high-cost stores that pack into these prime spots are not just show pieces, he said.
“Some of our retailers…approached sales per square foot of $6,000, $7,000 and $8,000 a foot on some small stores,” Greenbaum said. “I don’t think these things are just ‘advertisements and branding.’ I think companies today, and especially a number of the fast retailers that do their own production, these stores really are making money for them.”
Although Vornado has been trimming its portfolio as of late, it’s holding onto its investment in J.C. Penney Co. Inc. The company teamed up with activist investor William Ackman and amassed a combined 26 percent stake in the retailer in October 2010. The chain is now being reinvented as a specialty department store under the guidance of chief executive officer Ron Johnson.
Vornado’s adjusted funds from operations were basically flat at $744.4 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30, but the company has taken a hit on its Penney’s position. The real estate firm logged a mark-to-market loss of $53.3 million on its Penney’s holdings for the nine months.
Steven Roth, chairman of Vornado and a Penney’s board member, said, “This year, which is the transition year, is a difficult year [for the retailer]. It’s actually no secret that it’s proving out to be more difficult than the management team thought….We remain committed to the investment.”
Vornado beneficially controls 23.4 million shares of Penney’s, or 10.7 percent of the company’s stock. Shares of Penney’s slipped 2.3 percent to $23.70 Friday — down from the roughly $28 the stock was trading at before Vornado and Ackman’s initial investment was made public.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)