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St. Catherine Street: the changing of the guard Remember that little boutique where you bought the leather jacket 15 years ago? It’s gone. If you have not visited St.Catherine Street in Montreal since the early 1990s, you would not recognize it. Of the stores that were located in the prime area between Bishop and University, not more than fi ve are still in existence. The locallyowned stores are gone, replaced at first by national retail chains, which in turn are giving way to international chains. Storefront retail throughout North America has been in decline for many years. St. Catherine Street is the exception. Rental rates have quadrupled. Vacancies are nonexistent. It is not just any street. Fifteen kilometres long, St. Catherine comprises 1,200 stores, making it the largest concentration of retail outlets in Canada. The street is witness to 3,500 pedestrians per hour, 250,000 offi ce workers at lunchtime, and 100,000 students per day, keeping the street alive at all hours. Furthermore, eight subway stations, 30 kilometres of underground walkways with 178 entrances, and 2,000 underground stores totalling 36 million square feet (sq. ft.) of floor space are used by 500,000 people on a daily basis. In street front retail, if you don’t have a store on St. Catherine Street, you have not made it. There are two strategies for retail chains entering Quebec: 1) open a fl agship store on St. Catherine Street; or 2) open four or five stores in major malls around Montreal, and a flagship store on St. Catherine Street. At the corner of Peel and St. Catherine, three of the four corner stores have changed in the past year. The newcomers are H&M (Hennes & Mauritz of Sweden) with 20,000 sq. ft; Guess with 13,000 sq. ft; and American Eagle, with 17,000 sq. ft and Apple Store. In the last five years, more than 20 flagship stores have opened here, mostly multinationals, such as: Lululemon, Oakley, American Eagle, Esprit, Garage, Guess, Khiels, Geox, GNC, Ecco Shoes, H&M, Mango, French Connection, Quicksilver, Marciano and Adidas. The shortage of space forces stores to take minimal frontage on the ground floor, and more space on the second and third fl oors. Ground fl oor space that leased in the early 1990s for $50 net per sq. ft. (psf ), with the landlord offering $25 per sq. ft. for leasehold improvements, now leases for $200 net psf and up, plus $30 psf for operating costs and taxes. And some of the stores spend $5 million renovating the space. But as they say in Rolls Royce dealerships, if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it. Some of these stores are not making money, but they are here for image and marketing purposes. All the other banners are here, so they have to be here too. Whereas the mixture of stores constantly evolves, most of the landlords have been here for 30 or 40 years. They have seen the market go up and down. In this market, they will turn down all but the best. For one vacancy last year, there were four multinational chains trying to outbid each other for the space. http://www.avisonyoung.com/library/pdf/National/Fall-Winter_2008_AY_National_Newsletter.pdf
Developers & Chains ABOUT US Developers & Chains deals in business opportunities, not opportunities that you've missed out on. We specialize in futures, not histories. Developers & Chains is a subscription-only publication that focuses on retail and restaurant expansion across Canada. Developers & Chains is a subscription-only publication that concentrates on the growth and expansion aspects of the retail and restaurant industry across Canada, from British Columbia to Newfoundland. Each issue, and there are over 100 each year, includes information on new concepts and existing chains that have stated an interest in expansion and/or are showing signs of growth. And the reports include details on the companies, their needs and requirement along with the appropriate contacts. Developers & Chains issues also identify new shopping projects, malls and centres that are renovating, expanding or that simply have prime spaces that our subscribers may have available. Again, the issues include the leasing contacts, the uses they are seeking and where to contact them. There is more too. The publication keeps the subscribers aware of planned industry events and changes within the business. There are frequent reports on both retail and development sales and acquisitions, what companies are retaining which real estate-related suppliers and much, much more. Developers & Chains provides the type of leads and information that everyone in the business needs to make calculated decisions and it is all presented in a clear, factual, concise and timely manner that you can depend on. More important though, much of the leasing leads and company details are exclusive to the Developers & Chains’ E-News. They are available only in this publication. The information is exclusive in that it comes directly from our personal conversations with the principals or representatives of the featured companies. It’s almost as if you are there, sitting in on the conversation. Take a look through a recent issues of the Developers & Chains’ E-News. You will find details on new concepts seeking their first location and national chains looking for dozens of new units. You will learn, first hand, about planned entries into new markets. Whether it is a 150 square foot kiosk or a 30,000 square foot anchor tenant for your property, this is where you will meet them first. You will read about malls, centres and large format projects that have that ideal space, perfect for your next store. And you will ‘meet’ the people and companies involved. Oh yes, and the ‘editorial’ that ends every issue. Don’t take offence. It is just a tongue-in-cheek, maybe even irreverent, look at the business that we sometimes take a little too seriously. Sent from my SM-T330NU using Tapatalk