Madison Avenue retailers seem to change as quickly as fashion trends. Most recently, we’ve noticed an abundance of vacant retail spaces that have left large gaping retail holes along the world-renowned Avenue.
Despite economic strength(ish), it’s hard not to think back to the Great Recession of ’09 where entire blocks were basically empty. The chairman of retail leasing for Douglas Elliman and bonafide Madison Avenue real estate maven, Faith Hope Consolo warns, “Don’t even go there. It’s not the same at all.” Instead, she implors that Madison Avenue is a constant revolving door.
Despite how the door swings, it’s hard not to take note of the larger spaces that have become available. There is Emporio Armani at 59th Street, DKNY at 60th Street, Donna Karan at 68th Street, Reed Krakoff at 70th Street and Joe Fresh at 80th Street. There are also several smaller spaces available located at the newly renovated Carlton House. Comptoir des Cotonniers and Lisa Perry have also recently exited.
Rents on Madison in the 60s were as high as $2200 to $2800-a-square-foot but have backed down to $1500 to $1800-a-square-foot, Consolo says. “The numbers are still aggressive but landlords are readjusting their expectations. For the first time, in a long time, the landloards are listening. If there is a good tenant then they are listening and making deals.”
When vacancies are left along Madison Avenue it’s not just an economic change but it’s also a quality of life issue. One local resident said, “It’s not like I shop in every store but when a store closes it leaves a gaping hole. I miss looking into the windows and seeing what’s new. Walking past blacked out windows and plywood is awful.”
From 2009 until just recently, the big retail trend was contemporary brands taking luxury spaces on Madison Avenue. Many of these retailers are struggling as moderately priced fashion lines are falling out of favor. Shoppers appear to be willing to spend lots of money for uber-luxury labels and are also content settling for the cheap thrill from fast fashion. It’s the retailers that fall in between, or fashion’s version of the middle class, that are feeling the biggest squeeze.
A spokesperson for the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District says that there have been 39 store openings and expansions in the last 10 months. “For every five [stores] that fall out there are six ready to fall in,” Consolo says.
In 2015, we saw several jewelry and watch brands take smaller spaces in the 60s. The newest trend for retailers is leisure and sportswear along the lines of Lululemon and Sweaty Betty. In the future, we expect to see lots of beauty, cosmetic and fragrance brands taking smaller spaces in the 70s and 80s. Nars recently opened a space at 77th Street, Annick Goutal opened last year at 78th Street. We’ve heard rumblings that Blue Mercury, Sephora and the LVMH-owned Benfit beauty line are all shopping for a Madison Avenue presence.
Rumors aside, shoppers can look forward to several exceptional brands swinging open their doors on Madison. Some of the most anticipated store openings for the second half of 2016 are Brioni, Acne, Elie Saab and The Row. You can click here to see more details about recent store openings, expansions and new developments.
Openings Since January 2016
Aquazzura, 935 Madison Avenue
Aurélie Bidermann, 955 Madison Avenue
De Beers Diamond Jewellers, 777 Madison Avenue
Isabel Marant, 23 East 67 Street
Lukurë, 1046 Madison Avenue
Moynat, 937 Madison Avenue
Opera Gallery, 791 Madison Avenue
Saint James, 41 East 78 Street
Smythson of Bond Street, 677 Madison Avenue
Sonia Rykiel, 816 Madison Avenue
Sweaty Betty, 1153 Madison Avenue
The Met Breuer, 945 Madison Avenue
Acne Studios, 926 Madison Avenue
Brioni, 680 Madison Avenue
Elie Saab, 860 Madison Avenue
IRO, 1013 Madison Avenue
Juice Press, 625 Madison Avenue
Pinko, 1058 Madison Avenue
The Row, 17 East 71 Street
Vhernier, 738 Madison Avenue
Recently Completed Major Retail Expansions
Christian Louboutin, 965 Madison Avenue
Di Donna Galleries, 744 Madison Avenue
Giuseppe Zanotti, 806 Madison Avenue
Jimmy Choo, 699 Madison Avenue
Major Retail Expansions Currently Underway
Bally, 689 Madison Avenue
Bottega Veneta, 740 Madison Avenue
De Beers Diamond Jewellers, 716 Madison Avenue
Roland Mouret, 1006 Madison Avenue