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Retail Performance

High Street Flagship Stores Contracting

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High Street Flagship Stores Contracting

In a recent article published by the Business of Fashion, rents on major high streets in New York and Hong Kong are dropping.  On New York's Fifth Ave rents dropped from $3500 to $3000 a square foot and vacancies are up to 15.9% from 10% earlier this year.  Brands are pushing back on high rents and looking for ways to cut budgets.  While they are not abandoning the thought of a flagship store they are looking for less expensive "cooler" locations.  

This is yet another sign of pressure on the retail store model needing to become cheaper and more nimble for brands and for consumers.  Again this makes me wonder, with the pressure of online sales on retail stores, are developers, brands and store designers reacting fast enough with solutions that move product in the real world in different ways? 

(read the full article:  "Why retail flagships are no longer hot properties," BOF, Nov 18, 2017)

 

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Store Closings.  Doom and gloom or the next wave of possibilities?

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Store Closings. Doom and gloom or the next wave of possibilities?

While stores closing and downsizing is a painful short term reality there lies opportunity.  Kenneth Cole will close nearly all of its stores, 63 in total to focus on his online business.  It looks like he will keep flagship stores in NYC and Arlington, Virginia.  As hard as it might seem for those of us in the retail world, it makes sense. The reality is, Kenneth Cole will still have a need to connect with his fans in the real world, just not through an expensive fixed retail store format.  He will also still have a need to sell his product in the real world, just not at his outlet store format anymore.  So we can bemoan another round of store closings or we can get cracking on what is next for these brands.  How can we repurpose physical retail space to be more nimble and temporary? What are other real world formats that will put him in touch with his fans without the long term investment of a store?  How are we making it easy for brands to pop-up across the nation without signing a 10 year store lease?  As retail designers and developers are we dreaming big enough and are we moving fast enough?

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