Shoppers hitting Manhattan for luxury goods should set their eyes downtown.
A slew of upscale brands have recently opened outposts away from the traditional Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue hubs, the New York Post reports, instead turning towards Soho and the Meatpacking District.
The companies are taking advantage of lesser retail rents and the opportunity to pivot from e-commerce to physical retail as New York emerges from quarantine.
Among the companies to open stores in either Soho or the Meatpacking District are Givenchy, Gucci and Jonathan Adler; Gucci’s store at Thor Equities’ 446 West 14th Street is a pop-up, expected to close in December. The report of incoming luxury stores contrasts with the scene a few miles uptown, where shuttered storefronts are scattered across Fifth and Madison Avenues.
The retail market in Manhattan is showing slow signs of recovery from the pandemic. An October CBRE report noted a small decrease in direct ground-floor availability in the third quarter, the first decline in the borough’s availability since 2019. Leasing activity also rose 4.4 percent from the previous quarter, the first increase since 2019 as well.
However, the glimmers of the city’s retail recovery is uneven across neighborhoods. Madison Avenue has struggled to regain its previous level of foot traffic and Midtown storefronts are feeling lost without office workers, sinking to a nearly 30 percent retail vacancy rate in the summer.
“It’s not so bright in the traditional shopping areas that rely on tourists,” CBRE vice chairman Richard Hodos told the Post. “Madison is like a smile where some teeth are missing and some are bright and shiny.”
Companies are also taking advantage of lower retail rents in Brooklyn. REBNY data reported by the Post says retail rents in 10 of 17 corridors in the borough have dropped by 10 percent or more year-over-year.
“What is happening in Soho and other neighborhoods is exciting,” added Lee & Associates NYC principal Peter Braus. “Tenants are coming in and looking to exploit these rents that haven’t been seen since I came into the business 20 years ago.”
[NYP] — Holden Walter-Warner