GRAFTON Street is still one of the top 10 most expensive shopping streets in the world despite rents plunging by almost 23% last year.
This sharp fall in rent meant it is no longer in the top five, dropping to eighth but still ahead of Sydney and Munich.
The street is still however one of the most sought-after locations in Ireland for prime retail space.
Grafton Street entered the top five for the first time last year in the Cushman & Wakefield list of the world’s most expensive shopping streets.
Retailers can expect to pay €4,356 a year per square metre on Grafton Street compared with €13,027 on New York’s Fifth Avenue — the world’s most expensive street. Rents on Fifth Avenue declined by 8% last year.
Ireland’s top shopping location is not alone in recording plunging rents with 54% of the 274 streets monitored in the survey seeing their rents fall.
Fifth Avenue has been the world’s most expensive street for the last eight years.
Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay and Paris’s Avenue des Champs-Elysee maintain their positions at second and third respectively.
Grafton Street in Dublin was the biggest faller in the top 10.
Globally, the biggest increase in rents was in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with rents at Alameda Lorena and Iguatemi Shopping rising 111% and 79.3% respectively.
The biggest fall in rents was in Mumbai with Colaba Causeway falling 63.5%.
New Bond Street in London was sixth with retailers splashing out €5,885 a year for per square metre.
Head of retail at Cushman & Wakefield, John Strachan said: “The last 12 months have been one of the most difficult periods ever for the retail sector with consumer spending and retail sales down in many markets.”
Meanwhile, figures released by services group Experian found that the retail vacancy rate for Dublin is just over 20%, which is 6% higher than the all Ireland average of 14%.
Limerick has the highest vacancy rate in Ireland, with more than a quarter of its retail space unoccupied.
The situation is expected to get worse, as vacancy rates are predicted to increase by more than 2% in Limerick to almost 28% by February next year.
In Cork, the vacancy rate is expected to increase from the current rate of 17.37% to 18.54% and Galway is expected to increase from 13.65% to 14.33%.
Ireland’s average vacancy rate is 2% higher than the British average rate and almost 1% higher than the figure in the North, which is 13.9%.
Director of retail and property at Experian, Jonathan De Mello said: “Despite the recession, prime is prime and Grafton Street remains as strong as ever in terms of rental tone due to its significant footfall, tourist appeal and retail mix.
“Recent vacancies on the street will quickly be filled — the same cannot be said of other parts of Dublin.”
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