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Australia makes the list for the world’s premier fashion retail strips

Despite a fall in consumer spending over the past 12 months, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth continued to be a top competitor for the world's highest rents for retail corridors.

Nathan Clark, National Director of Retail at Colliers International, who has formed strong relationships with major international retailers from working overseas, said leading fashion retailers are taking advantage of the current market to secure prime locations across Australia.

"We are being approached by and assisting more international and well known local retailers than ever before, which are looking to expand or enter Australia, especially brands seeking flagship stores.

"First-tier luxury brands from Australia and overseas that may already sell a smaller selection in department stores, are looking for sites across Australia to have the opportunity to merchandise their entire collections. And also international well-known retailers are also on the hunt for sites," said Mr Clark.

Brisbane's Queen Street Mall was the highest rank out of Australia's cities in 18th spot with US$382 per sqf. Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne and Pitt Street Mall in Sydney came equal 24th with US$334 per sqf and Perth's Hay Street and Murray Street Malls was in the 43rd place on US$227 per sqf.

Dan Cuda, Director of Retail at Colliers International, said Brisbane's Queen Street Mall is the highest trading mall in Australia, due to its unique location and size.

"Queen Street Mall is different to other malls as it extends over two blocks and has four major shopping centres attached to it.

"One of those centres is the newly constructed Queens Plaza, which has attracted high-end international retailers, where record rents were achieved," said Mr Cuda.

Major redevelopments including the Mid City Centre project and Westfield Sydney has lead to increased interest with retailers struggling to relocate during the closures due to a lack of space, according to Kevin James, Director of Retail at Colliers International.

"There will always be retailer demand due to the average income in the CBD is higher than the regional average, as the Australian Bureau of Statistics' 2006 Census found the average national individual income was $466 per week and household was $1027, compared to the City of Sydney for example, was $717 for individuals and $1204 for households per week," said Mr James.

"International visitors also play a significant role in CBD retail trade."

The report found that street-front rents in almost every region of the world decreased over the past 12 months, with some countries recording a drop by as much as half.

Rory McLeod, National Director of Research at Colliers International, said Australia faired exceptionally well compared to the world's leading retail strips. The Champs Elysees in Paris saw rents fall US$609 per sqf and London's Bond Street was down US$667 per sqf. Whereas Sydney's Pitt Street Mall saw rents fall US$112 to average US$334 per sqf.

"Australia's prime retail strips were impacted by the fall in the Australian dollar which was weakened by the global financial crisis, and the drop in tourism.

"However, the fall in rents will give retailers the opportunity to enter markets that were previously seen as too expensive," said Mr McLeod.

New York's Fifth Avenue was the top retail strip according to the report, even though rents dropped US$250 to US$1400 per sqf per year compared to the previous 12 months. It was followed by Hong Kong's Russell Street, Causeway Bay, with US$1192 per sqf and the Champs Elysees in Paris was third on US$859.

"As retailers continue to seek well located sites across Australia, our retail markets will remain strong and we expect activity to increase during the second half of 2009," said Mr Clark.