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Blog: Adding Up the Numbers on Fifth Avenue

New York’s famous shopping avenue rakes in the rents, tourists and retail brands



For the fifth straight year, Fifth Avenue boasts the world’s highest retail rents. At $1900 a square foot, its number is significantly higher than second-place Hong Kong, where rents averaged $1695, according to a report released by CBRE Group Inc., which compared rents in the 20 priciest retail streets around the globe.

And even at that cost, there’s a buzz of activity.

Just last month, Uniqlo opened its largest global flagship to date at Fifth and 53rd. The store boasts three levels, more than 300 mannequins, 100 fitting rooms and a visual staff of more than 50. (See VMSD’s December issue for a tour of the new Uniqlo flagship as well as the latest new retail additions in New York.) Dolce & Gabbana and Rolex have signed leases for space on upper Fifth. Saks Fifth Avenue recently unveiled a remodeled second floor. And Apple’s flagship boasts a redesigned glass cube entryway.

But it’s not just the gilded area between 49th and 57th that’s getting all the attention. Further down the avenue, in the 20th and 30th blocks, there are signs of a renewal, as brands such as Marimekko, New Balance and Joe Fresh open their doors.

Is it the flocks of tourists to the area that continue to draw new retail brands to Fifth Avenue? The desire to be neighbors with some venerable icons, such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman, to name a few? Or is it just because it’s Fifth Avenue?

It’s all of the above.


“It’s good branding to be on Fifth Avenue – you get your showcase in front of all the people that come to New York,” Andrew Goldberg, executive vp, CBRE Group, told The New York Times.

VMSD and a panel of retailers and designers will discuss the draw of Fifth Avenue and what it takes to make it here during next month’s Retail Design Collective ( Join us for this insightful discussion on Thursday, Dec. 8, at 9:30 a.m. at 7W New York, 7 W. 34th Street. (Attendees get a free map of Fifth Avenue hotspots to check out post-RDC.)

In the meantime, I’m counting down the days until my trip to New York and the opportunity to see all the delights that Fifth Avenue – and New York at large – have to share at this time of year.



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HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

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