Finally, after 11 years New York City no longer holds the top rank for the most expensive district for retailers. Hong Kong ended New York’s 11-year reign as the home of the world’s most expensive district for retailers as luxury-brand companies competed for space to sell goods to mainland Chinese tourists.
Average annual rents at Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island rose 35 percent to $2,630 a square foot at the end of June from a year ago, Cushman & Wakefield Inc. estimates. Hong Kong overtook Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, while Paris’s Avenue des Champs-Elysees rose to third in a global ranking of 326 prime shopping locations published by the real estate broker today.
Causeway Bay landlords Wharf (Holdings) Ltd., Hysan Development Co. and Emperor International Holdings Ltd. reported rising sales for their tenants as visitors from mainland China took advantage of tax-free shopping in Hong Kong. Tourist spending rose 18 percent to HK$138 billion ($17.8 billion) in the first nine months, the territory’s tourism board estimates, bolstered by a 31 percent increase in visitors from the mainland.
“New York and Hong Kong are slugging it out at the top,” Mark Burlton, a London-based partner at Cushman’s cross-border retail team, said in an interview. “The Chinese customer is helping float a lot of ships across the world,” prompting luxury stores in the main global shopping destinations to hire Chinese-speaking workers, he said.