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Manhattan’s Retail Pain Worsens with Fifth Avenue Rent Slide

Retail rents along lower Fifth Avenue dropped by 30 percent year-over-year in the second quarter, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

(Bloomberg)—The picture’s getting bleaker for some key Manhattan shopping districts.

Lower Fifth Avenue, running from 42nd to 49th streets, had the biggest drop in retail asking rents in the second quarter, sliding 30% from a year earlier, according to a report by brokerage Cushman & Wakefield. Soho and Madison Avenue were among areas with declines of more than 14%.

Retail Gets Hammered

Landlords were struggling even before the pandemic as more consumers embraced e-commerce and large retailers went bankrupt, leaving gaping vacancies along Manhattan’s shopping corridors. The pain only worsened after measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 shuttered stores for months starting in March.

Just a handful of new leases were signed in the quarter, including an agreement by Aritzia Inc., a clothing chain favored by Meghan Markle, to take over Dean & DeLuca’s former Soho flagship.

Rents fell 6.6% on Upper Fifth Avenue, home to some of the world’s most prestigious luxury merchants. Lower Fifth, by comparison, is dominated by big national chains.

The only neighborhood where asking rents rose was Lower Manhattan, with a 8.7% increase from a year earlier. Rents were unchanged in the Meatpacking District, which benefited from tourist traffic on the High Line before the pandemic.

To contact the reporter on this story: Natalie Wong in New York at [email protected].

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Giammona at [email protected]

Christine Maurus

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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