Spending a short amount of time on Melbourne’s Collins Street today makes me realise how good a retail precinct can look and how ultimately Heritage will win the day in Auckland.
For at least a dozen big international brands, it's not a matter of if, but when, they can open a Collins Street store. Demand is so strong, and space so tightly held, that many well-known labels now have to queue for years for prized retail space.
Over the past year, big international retail brands have become more willing to open in Melbourne before they set up in Sydney. Paul Smith is a recent example of this. The quality of the buildings, particularly the well-maintained heritage frontages, is part of the attraction.
Retailers in the queue for a Collins Street address include Christian Dior (about to open in Queen Street), Kate Spade, Banana Republic, Bottega Veneta and J Crew. Watch retailers Omega, Baume et Mercier and International Watch Co (IWC) are also in the hunt.
Prada at 75 Collins Street pays $1 million annual rent for its position, Louis Vuitton forks out more for its premium corner spot while Hermes will add a similar annual bill to its million-dollar fit-out when it moves to Harley House on the corner of Exhibition Street later in the year. The store is currently being built.
Auckland could learn a lot from the consistent high standard of Melbourne’s Collins Street.
Luxury Retail is alive and well.