Credit cards at the ready: London’s Bond Street has managed to clinch the dubious accolade of being the most expensive shopping street in Europe. With designer shops like Burberry, Chanel and Louis Vuitton, it may have an exclusive reputation, but according to a new report by property firm Cushman & Wakefield, the average rent is now $836 (that’s £526) per square foot, per year – which is almost a fifth higher than it was at the same time last year. For the Champs-Elysees, though, it’s a sadder story: the street may still be the fifth-most expensive in the world, but rent has slipped by almost 10% in the last year. That doesn’t bode well for French retailers.
But while Bond Street’s (increasingly impoverished) tenants might not be overjoyed at the news, perhaps it’s a sign that consumer spending might finally be on the rise. Either that, or the number of Russian oligarchs (Bond Street’s natural customers) in the UK has increased substantially.
Besides, it’s all relative: Bond Street may be pricey, but it lags well behind other retail hotspots. The honour of ‘most expensive in the world’ is reserved for Fifth Avenue in New York, where, according to Cushman & Wakefield, it costs a staggering $1,850 per year to rent a single square foot of retail space. Ouch. Not far behind are Causeway Bay in Hong Kong and Tokyo’s Ginza, both of which have eye-watering rates.
Still, the report as a whole showed a general trend toward growth. Having experienced ‘sharp dips’ in rent prices of up to a quarter in some countries, two-thirds of shopping streets in the 59 countries studied have now seen rent prices either rise or stay the same.
One of the more curious trends was seen in emerging markets, where, presumably, burgeoning middle classes with lots of disposable income to spend are driving up rent prices. On the rather comically-named Haddock Lobo street in Sao Paolo in Brazil, rent prices have jumped by an impressive 92% in the last year, while on Linking Road in Mumbai they have risen by a third. With strong growth in these regions set to continue for the foreseeable future, there’s little chance of a slowdown.
In the UK, though, spending cuts are likely to have an unpleasant impact on the majority of retailers. Though whether the moneyed types who frequent Bond Street’s designer handbag emporia will feel the effects remains to be seen…