Fifth Avenue ranked first for the eighth year in a row. “It is one of the best streets in the world to advertise your brand and create your billboard,” Cushman & Wakefield’s Le Goff said. “It commands premium pricing.” The street is more of a deal now. There are prime vacancies between Bergdorf Goodman at 58th Street and Saks Fifth Avenue at 49th Street, including spaces formerly occupied by Brooks Brothers, the Disney Store and Escada. “But people are very cautious because the spaces are huge — 10,000 square feet is the smallest,” Le Goff said. “The days of giant flagships are being put on hold.”
CAUSEWAY BAY, HONG KONG
Percent change: -15.1
For those looking for an intense shopping experience, Causeway Bay is it. Shops are squeezed together in its maze of streets. Tucked in with markets and family-owned shops are upscale boutiques such as Calvin Klein, Cynthia Rowley and Vivienne Westwood. Many stores stay open until midnight. The Times Square mall, one of the top 10 tourist destinations in Hong Kong, has 900,000 square feet of retail. Bottega Veneta, Jill Stuart and Yves Saint Laurent have stores there. Rents in Causeway Bay fared slightly better than Hong Kong overall, which was down 17.7 percent in June compared with a year earlier. Causeway Bay has welcomed new shops, including Glashutte Watches, Estée Lauder, Mac Cosmetics and Cartier.
CENTRAL, HONG KONG
Percent change: -24.7
As a luxury destination, Central has taken a big hit. Demand has been weak because of high unemployment and reduced consumer spending. In an effort to compensate, some retailers are targeting big-spending visitors from Mainland China. There are more than 250 shops in Central, including Balenciaga, Burberry, Jimmy Choo and Valentino. Recent additions to the area include a plethora of watch companies, including Breguet, Omega and Hublot, along with Japanese avant-garde label Comme des Garçons.
TSIM SHA TSUI, HONG KONG
Percent change: -12.7
Tsim Sha Tsui, often abbreviated as TST, is an urban area in the Yau Tsim Mong District in southern Kowloon popular with Mainland tourists. Ermenegildo Zegna opened a 7,300-square-foot global concept store designed by Peter Marino in October, and chief executive officer Gildo Zegna expects to post a 30 percent jump in sales in Asia this year, WWD reported. Shanghai Tang opened its second flagship here in August after six years of planning and negotiations. Formerly a firehouse, the shop is in a landmark building and dates to 1881.
AVENUE DES CHAMPS-ELYSEES, PARIS
Percent change: 0
Occupying space on Paris’ most famous boulevard, which draws more than 100 million visitors a year, is sometimes a challenge. In September 2008, Hennes & Mauritz got approval for a 28,000-square-foot Champs-Elysées address, ending its two-year legal fight with French authorities. France’s Conseil d’Etat (Council of State) quashed an appeal by the Paris mayor’s office, which argued another large fast-fashion store would damage the street’s prestige. Zara, Sephora and Gap are among the other retailers. Swarovski purchased space formerly occupied by Bally earlier this year, and Abercrombie & Fitch is set to bow next year.
VIA MONTENAPOLEONE, MILAN
Percent change: 1.5
Experiencing Milan’s well-heeled crowd means making a trip to Montenapo, as the locals refer to it. Bally, Dior, Etro, Valentino, Gucci, Prada, Rolex and Ralph Lauren stores are located on the street. The largest Giorgio Armani boutique in the world opened on Via Montenapoleone in September 2008. Retail rents in Italy are showing signs of softening, but the two biggest cities, Milan and Rome, remain least affected. However, Naples, Bologna and Turin recorded average declines of 5 to 10 percent.
MADISON AVENUE, NEW YORK
Percent change: -27.1
The falloff in luxury brands hurt Madison Avenue, which had the steepest rent decline in the U.S. “At the beginning of this year, people were saying that Madison was over, but I wasn’t a believer,” Le Goff said. “There’s only one Madison Avenue and it’s not going anywhere.” New occupants taking advantage of rent reductions include Devi Kroell, Girard-Perregaux and Burberry, which in May celebrated the lighting of the 50-foot Burberry logos atop the firm’s new U.S. headquarters at 444 Madison. Hermès also scooped up space for its first men’s-only shop. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them,” Le Goff said. “It’s across the street from their existing flagship and on a corner at 62nd Street.”
VIA CONDOTTI, ROME
Percent change: 4.8
Via Condotti has a plethora of Italian heritage brands, including Armani, Prada, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana. Gucci has occupied space on Via Condotti since 1938. And Bulgari celebrated its 125th anniversary in May with a retrospective of historic pieces, such as an 18-karat necklace from the Sixties with floral motifs in emeralds, rubies, sapphires and diamonds that belonged to Princess Soraya of Iran. Andy Warhol frequently shopped at the landmark Bulgari store to view the jeweler’s latest creations, according to WWD.
EAST 57TH STREET, NEW YORK
Percent change: -11.1
This street is filled with luxury brands, including Chanel, Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, “but you almost have to know it’s there,” Le Goff said. “It’s a difficult block. Between Fifth and Madison, it’s a little hybrid.” Nokia occupies space on the street, as does Miu Miu, which opened last year. New to the mix between Park and Madison avenues is Zilli, the men’s wear brand from France, which opened in October at the base of the Four Seasons hotel. It is the company’s first boutique in the U.S.
Percent change: -12
After luxury brands such as Tiffany & Co. and Bottega Veneta, among others, set up Ginza flagships over the last two decades, Namiki Street is experiencing economic woes, including vacancies left by brands like Valentino. Lower-priced mall and specialty brands have crept in, including Forever 21. Gap is set to occupy a 10-story building in 2011 originally intended for Louis Vuitton, which scrapped plans for the Ginza store last year. Uniqlo launched Jil Sander’s +J collection in Japan on October, attracting hundreds to the brand’s Ginza flagship. The company’s same-store sales in Japan jumped 35.7 percent in October. An Abercrombie & Fitch store also will open in December.