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City stores welcome new retail revolution

The Uniqlo pop-up store in Melbourne. Photo: Wayne TaylorThe retail revolution in the Sydney and Melbourne central business districts has only just begun, according to commercial real estate agents.
Nanjing Night Net

Already the biggest and most popular chains are established and more are on their way, with the only impediment for vast and swift expansion finding the right stores and locations.

But even that is not as hard as it was only a few years ago. And even the local retailers, who are the main targets, are welcoming the new arrivals as they are bringing back much-needed foot traffic.

The opening of pop-up stores paves the way for the new entrants.

One of the latest has been the Japanese Uniqlo, which opened a short-leased site in January in Swanston Street, Melbourne.

Leasing agent Zelman Ainsworth, retail director at CBRE, said the store was swamped the minute it opened and had ”queue-wranglers” to cope with the crowds.

The plan worked, as it created interest in the label and made for a busy day when the main store opened at the new Emporium, developed by CFS Retail Trust in Melbourne.

Mr Ainsworth said demand was much higher for these short-term tenancies than even six months ago, and he expected a number of new brands to enter the market using this approach.

In Sydney, Uniqlo is about to open in the site of the former Valley Girl store on the ground floor at the Glasshouse arcade in the city. The brand aims to open by May 1.

Uniqlo is taking another Glasshouse site for its storage/training room; it took the space last week until the end of 2014. Knight Frank’s Alex Alamsyah, director, retail leasing, is the leasing agent, but declined to comment. The Uniqlo pop-up store will be used in Sydney to create a buzz while the new store is being fitted out at the Mid City Centre on George Street.

As part of this revolution, a cluster effect has also occurred, whereby the same stores have all clubbed near each other.

In Sydney, Pitt Street is more a ”fast-fashion” location with Zara, Uniqlo, possibly Forever 21 and the make-up retailer Sephora, and the Australian Portmans, Witchery and Seed, among others. Topshop is nearby, on the corner of Market and George streets.

George Street is trending to the upmarket brands of Louis Vuitton, Burberry, probably H&M and Marks and Spencer, and the telcos of Apple, Samsung and a new Telstra concept store on the corner of King Street.

Mr Ainsworth said Melbourne was the same. ”One of fundamental rules of retail leasing is adjacencies – retailers across all categories and qualities have a strong emphasis on retail adjacencies,” he said.

”Melbourne CBD on-street retail has formed into clusters mostly due to the preference of retailers wanting to neighbour other existing retailers.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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