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Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive retail destination

Global retail rents remain steady as demand for prime space outstrips a supply.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive retail destination

Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive shopping destination as significant inbound tourist flows and continued increases in domestic wealth fuels occupier demand from international fashion and luxury retailers, according to new research from global property advisor CBRE Group, Inc.

The CBRE rankings of prime global retail rents saw little change in the first quarter of 2012 (Q1 2012) compared to the previous quarter. Hong Kong remains at the top of the rankings with retail rents at US$3,864 per square foot (psf) per annum. New York retained the number two position at US$2,475 psf annum. Both cities experienced significant increases in retail rents quarter-over-quarter.

The remaining top five rankings were also unchanged from the prior quarter: Sydney (US$1,112 psf per annum) was third, followed by Tokyo (US$1025 psf per annum), with London (US$956 psf per annum) completing the top five as competition for prime locations in the city’s West End contributed to an annual rental increase of 5.6%.

Globally, total retail rents increased by a modest 0.8% quarter-over-quarter in Q1 2012 as concerns over the eurozone debt crisis and weak global economic growth continued to affect consumer and retailer confidence. Despite these fears, occupier demand for prime space in many major cities remained strong, and prime space was in short supply in many markets.

Ray Torto, Global Chief Economist, CBRE, commented, “Overall, this quarter has seen more positive aspects than the last; with improved consumer spending as well as steady occupier demand and new shopping centres bringing benefits to emerging markets. Despite concerns over the eurozone and a slowing world economy, retailer demand for prime space in major cities remains strong; however, prime space is in short supply in many markets. This mismatch between demand and supply means that activity levels are not as high as they could be. Equally, retailers continue to target the best locations in the more mature markets of Western Europe and the wealthier markets in the Asia Pacific region.

“Cross border retailing is also increasing as middle class populations grow in emerging markets and retailers from more mature markets seek new opportunities for growth. The growing demand for modern, high quality retail space in emerging markets has led to a boom in shopping centre development which is making it easier for retailers to enter these territories.”

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