York Retail, Spring 2000!
Still Has A Futuristic Ring, Doesn't It?
But the new century has indeed dawned -- on what
is unquestionably the most vibrant and active retail market in the
world. Last year, we continued to witness the birth of new retail
neighborhoods and the renaissance of others, while the biggest and
glossiest of Manhattan's retail centers became...well, bigger and
glossier. And the opening weeks of the new year suggest that growth
in 2000 will be as vigorous as ever.
Among the most notable trends is the continuing
influx of European and Asian-based retailers. Where are they all
going? That's equally notable, for gone are the days when offshore
retailers congregated in two or three "exclusive" shopping
districts. Today, virtually all of Manhattan is a magnet for stores
with an upscale international flavor -- from upper West Side
to the upper East Side, from Midtown to Flatiron
and Soho, and right down to the Financial District.
Flatiron is a superb example. With the
impending arrival of Sephora on a choice corner at
19th Street, some top-tier retailers are now present on a relatively
short stretch of Fifth Avenue, south of Madison Square Park. Sephora
will join Emporio Armani, Paul Smith, Country Road, Joan &
David, Ann Taylor, Club Monaco, Zara, and bebe,
among others, in a neighborhood that is rapidly becoming the equal
of Soho as a world-class shopping destination.
Union Square and Chelsea are emerging
as retail centers with enormous growth opportunity, as both locations
Chanel, H. Stern, and Orlane will
soon open in Soho, where shopping is a way of life, as have
Kenzo, Louis Vuitton, Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti, Vivienne
Westwood, Via Spiga, Shiseido 5S, and Helena Rubinstein
during the last year.
A little farther downtown, on the northern fringe of Little Italy,
"NoLita" is quickly achieving fame as a fashionable
up-and-coming extension of nearby Soho. Le Tanneur,
Mark Schwartz, fresh, and Balthazar are among
the pioneers of this district, taking advantage of rents that are
still substantially below those of its better-known neighboring
Uptown, the evolving scene is every bit as exciting.
Madison Avenue in the Seventies, for instance, is especially
vibrant. In the 72nd Street area, one finds such stars as Ralph
Lauren, Gianfranco Ferre, Sonia Rykiel, Prada, and Yves
Saint Laurent. Michael Kors is about to open
near the Whitney Museum, joining recent arrivals Christian
Louboutin, Calypso, Richard Mishaan, and Carolina
In general, Madison Avenue's "Gold Coast"
seems to be growing longer and more golden. Other retailers that
have come to the Avenue in the past year include Alfred Dunhill,
Chloe, Sulka, Nino Cerutti, DKNY, Roberto Cavelli, Celine, David
Yurman, Steuben, John Lobb, Hermes, Genny, Caron, Kieselstein-Cord,
Pancaldi, Toni&Guy, and Longchamp, to
name just a few.
While there is scarcely room to detail all of
Manhattan's active retail districts, no commentary would be complete
without mention of the Grande Dame -- Fifth Avenue -- which
many observers said had lost much of its luster in the early '90s.
The luster is back, but in tones that are richer and more complex.
The elegance of Cartier, Prada, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth
Avenue, Tiffany & Co., Gianni Versace, Asprey, and Salvatore
Ferragamo now co-exist amicably with Warner Bros.,
Coca Cola, Disney, and the NBA Store.
The mixture is electrifying and has made Fifth
Avenue the most heavily trafficked tourist street in the world.
Partly as a result, new retail opportunities continue to emerge
in the Fifth Avenue corridor. Rockefeller Center, for example,
is undergoing an exciting renewal. A few months ago, J. Crew
opened across from the popular skating rink. Hennes &
Mauritz will soon be across the way, at 50th Street. The
new Brooks Bros. is just a few doors up.
Opportunities abound, as Manhattan thrives on
its ever-more cosmopolitan nature and its irresistible allure for
travelers the world over.