Luxury international brands are looking to open flagship stores on the east coast of Australia in the coming months, as the nation’s capital cities remain one of the safest investment destinations in the Asia-Pacific region.
Italian designers Brunello Cucinelli and Roberto Cavalli are looking for space to rent, as are French leather goods house Goyard, shoe empire Hogan and fashion and jewellery brand Marni, according to CBRE.
Moreover, Venezuelan-American designer Carolina Herrera, known for designing wedding dresses for Caroline Kennedy, is also said to be hunting a space.
The global brands are looking to bow retail stores in Melbourne and Sydney — starting with whichever offers the first leasing opportunity, CBRE head of Victorian retail leasing Zelman Ainsworth told the Australian.
“The feedback’s been that Australia’s one of the only markets in Asia-Pacific that’s consistently growing year on year,” Ainsworth told reporters.
“It’s a politically and economically safe country to do business in. The Chinese tourists coming to Australia, which is the primary luxury customer, has consistently been growing at double digit levels each year.”
The news comes as the local arm of British clothing chain Topshop went into voluntary administration in May. Topshop has already confirmed five stores will close this year as administrators try to salvage the chain.
Several Australian fashion chains have also fallen prey to administrators in 2017 including Rhodes & Beckett, Herringbone, Payless Shoes and Pumpkin Patch.
Adding extra pressure to the local retail scene, especially physical stores, is the impending entry of US-based e-commerce giant Amazon.
Australia is also facing flat retail sales growth and a rather stagnant consumer confidence, as residents grapple with large personal debt and mortgages.
However, luxury retailers can still profit from being in Australia. CBRE said prices for retail space in Australia look affordable compared to other global cities, another attraction for offshore brands.