Revival of Madison Avenue in New York
What is the lung for Paris, Les Halles and for shopping Les Champs Elysées, New York’s Madison Avenue has been for luxury boutiques, but over the years has lost some of its glamour, especially 2010-11, but it is now in a revival phase
We have recently reported on ongoing projects in luxury retailing and Madison Avenue in New York. In the past 18 months around 50 stores have opened, mostly to the North of Barneys and extending over a mile, amongst Céline and Bottega Veneta and contemporary brands such as Vince, Zadig & Votltaire, Rebecca Taylor, Alice and Olivia, Theory and Rag & Bone as well as American designers Proenza Schouler and soon Monique Lhuillier. Also a concept store carrying lines like Visvim and specialized Nikes took locations at 18 East 69th Street.
Other long time tenants such as Lanvin, Oscar de la Renta and Chanel are expanding, whereas Etro and Gucci are splitting up their existing stores. J. Crew has four locations above 65th Street and younger shoppers find it attractive to shop at retailers like Intermix and Theory. Le Ann Nealz, President of Juicy Couture, opened in 2006 at 860 Madison Avenue, declares: There is a new customer on Madison Avenue”. Her store is now facing Tom Ford, separated from Céline, then Laduréee macarons and Chrome Hearts glitzy sunglasses. Nealz adds: You can now buy a piece of art, some shoes and a Panini, and it’s nice having old world New York mixed with some of these younger, hipper brands. And something else from the past glory is back: there are visitors peeking through the shop window and they look at the window displays to explore if it is worth entering the door , there are mostly tourists but also local people and they don’t only window shop as the figures of the prominent tenants reflect. By comparing to the famous past, nowadays contemporary label designers are unlike their predecessors, and they are looking for a profit shortly after opening a store, whereas the former generation was experimenting and accepting a loss for some time. In fact after 2009 rents on Madison Avenue came down from around USD 1000 per square foot to USD 600 – USD 800. In 2009 there were more than 24 vacancies and just as many tried to break their leases.
All in all from 60th to 70th Street on Madison Avenue there are 82 designer-clothing boutiques, 34 high end jewellery stores and 34 stores specialising in categories like shoes, handbags or eyewear. In the surroundings there is a concentration of the world’s most wealthy residents. And just for this reason the rebound came more quickly than the areas depending to a great extent to heavy traffic from tourists.
Further newcomers to Madison Avenue are Ralph Lauren (72nd Street) and just recently Proenza Schuoler who opened her store in July. Pucci, Yigal Azrouël, Kate Spade, Belstaff and Brian Atwood and others are to follow and the strong demand for space haw also a new price tag: USD 1500 a square foot. But the most important fact is that Madison Avenue offers the right mix from the high to the low end and this creates a more dynamic shopping experience.