Munich is Germany’s luxe Fashion gem.
This story first appeared in the May 20, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
While the Bavarian capital is by no means Germany’s largest metropolitan district, covering 119.9 square miles, nor its most populous, together with the surrounding areas, Munich is Europe’s most prosperous economic region, according to the realty and consultant firm Comfort. The city has the lowest unemployment rates and highest purchasing power in all of Germany, with GfK Geodata placing its residents’ clothing purchasing power index at 137.1 based on a national average of 100. And shop they do — the concentrated network of shopping streets in Munich’s city center clocks in between 12,000 and 15,000 people an hour during peak times.
Demand for space is steadily high, keeping rents on Munich’s chain- and midpriced- brand-studded Neuhauser Strasse/Kaufingerstrasse and Marienplatz “solid as a rock,” and the highest in Germany, at about $488 a square foot annually for smaller spaces. And in the upper segment, Munich’s Maximilianstrasse (at $373 a square foot) has long featured a who’s-who lineup of international luxury flagships.
“The city may be very settled, smug and rich, but when it comes to high-street retailing, Munich is in its own league,” said Manfred Schalk, director of Comfort’s Munich office. He added, “Munich is extraordinarily ambitious.”
The recently opened Maison Louis Vuitton in the historic Residenzpost on the corner of Maximilian and Residenzstrasse is a case in point. Housed on three floors and 14,000 square feet of space in what was one of Germany’s oldest post offices and the first in Bavaria, the Maison “sets a new benchmark for retailing in Munich,” an industry observer said. And also a milestone for Vuitton, which opened its first German store in Munich in 1977 on Maximilianstrasse and now operates 11 stores in the country.
Munich is one of the most dynamic cities, not only in Germany but also at a European level,” noted Roberto Eggs, president of Louis Vuitton North Europe. “Munich has rapidly developed into an economic and cultural center of the country, and we did not hesitate once to the opportunity to open in this city arose. Moreover, we had the chance to be able to open at an iconic location,” the renovation of which took five years. At the end of 2013, a 4,850-square-foot Espace Louis Vuitton Munich, hosting contemporary art exhibits, will also be at the site. Meanwhile, Bucherer has just moved into new three-story quarters on Residenzstrasse, making it a direct neighbor of Maison Vuitton.
“People buy and live luxury in Munich. They care about their appearance and like to show that they wear luxury fashion and jewelry,” noted Valentin von Arnim, managing director of Hamburg-based cashmere specialist Iris von Arnim, which recently opened a Munich store. “Tourists also play a large role, especially from the Emirates but also Russia and the U.S., attracted often by the medical treatments available in Bavaria.”
Von Arnim chose to open in the Brienner quarter on the Amira Platz. “It is a beautiful and central area near the Odeonsplatz, which keeps on developing. It has more charm and a luxury feel, with its trees, old buildings and outdoor cafés, than some of the high streets,” he pointed out.
Wunderkind’s first stand-alone store in Munich also just made its debut on Promenadeplatz near Lodenfrey, one of the city’s large independent specialty stores. Like Ludwig Beck, it has invested heavily is the last few years and is a noted Munich fashion institution.
According to Edwin Lemberg, cofounder and chief executive officer of Wolfgang Joop’s high-end Wunderkind brand, “Munich is the secret fashion capital of Germany. It’s favorably situated, with a taste for luxury among the international and strong local clientele.”
Population: 1.4 million
Population change, past year: +4.4 percent
Purchasing power: 27,464 euros ($36,716) in 2011
Key industries: Media, automotive industry, electronics, insurance, finance, tourism, retail
Number of malls: Eight within city limits
Malls in development: Three within city limits
Other major construction projects: The development of a 53,840-square-foot former Karstadt department store site set to open later this year. Tenants include SportScheck, which is moving its Munich headquarters to more than 107,000 square feet of space there; Forever 21, with about 65,000 square feet, and Mango, with 24,750 square feet.
HOT SPOT: HOFSTATT PASSAGE
Call it the missing link. While Munich has no shortage of attractive inner-city shopping centers and passages, the new Hofstatt Passage, which opened April 24, extends the existing pedestrian zone on the highly frequented Sendlinger Strasse and is expected to consequently upgrade the entire area.
Indeed, the passage drew 80,000 visitors in its first three days. Seven years in the making, the 463,000-square-foot ensemble on the former site of the Munich newspapers Süddeutsche Zeitung and Abendzeitung combines landmark and newly designed buildings. The 167,000 square feet of retail space house a youthful mix of international brands. Some, like J. Lindeberg, are making their German debut there, with others, like Abercrombie & Fitch (which opened last year) and Hollister, operating their largest doors in Europe.
Tom Tailor is present with its first center city Munich store, showcasing Tom Tailor, Tom Tailor Denim and Tom Tailor Polo Team in about 8,600 square feet, on two floors. Adidas, on three floors, features the Sport Performance, Originals, SLVR, Adidas by Stella McCartney and Porsche Design collections in about 5,385 square feet. Also on board: Codello, Gant, Calzedonia, Freeman T. Porter, Humanic, He by Mango, Brandy & Melville and Liu Jo.