The Real Deal New York

Foreign brands taking over Manhattan retail corridors

Merchants based abroad operate 39% of Fifth, Madison avenue, Soho stores

December 07, 2015 01:15PM


From left: A rendering of the Zara store at 503 Broadway in Soho and Hermes at 691 Madison Avenue

Foreign buyers have famously made waves in the luxury condominium and investment sales markets, but it turns out their impact on high-end retail has been just as significant.

Brands based abroad operate 39 percent of the stores on Fifth and Madison Avenues, and in Soho, according to a new study by Cushman & Wakefield.

The report, which looked at 906 retailers, found Soho to be the most nationally-diverse area, with 24 countries represented. Fifth Avenue had 17 non-U.S. outlets, and Madison Avenue had 13. Italian outlets represented the largest international cohort.

“This is a trend line that took root in the early 1990s, when national retail brands really started to infiltrate and populate urban centers, particularly New York, because the commercial office market was so weak,” Cushman’s Gene Spiegelman told the Journal. “Easily less than 10 percent of brands were foreign in the early ’90s.”

U.K.-based designed Stella McCartney is in talks to open a store at 929 Madison Avenue. In July, Lebanese designer Elie Saab took 4,000 square feet at 860 Madison Avenue. [WSJ, 1st item]Ariel Stulberg