Taking Down the Hoarding

The Opening of Grafton Street Stores is a Boost to the Streets Prime Frontage

DUBLIN, 6th December 2017 – Victoria’s Secret opened their doors on Grafton Street last Tuesday 5th December. The long-anticipated opening is in perfect timing for Christmas trade. 28-29 Grafton Street, which comprises approximately 2,500 sq. m. over 5 levels is the lingerie brands first Irish store besides a store at Terminal 2, Dublin Airport. Owned by IPUT, the building has been undergoing a lavish fit out to give Victoria’s Secret a stand out store that will showcase its full product range. Victoria’s Secret were represented by CBRE in the acquisition of the store which originally involved the surrender of the BT2 Department Store. Rent was agreed in the region of €1,800,000 per annum which equates to €6,500 per sq. m. Zone A. This Zone A rent is somewhat below peak rents achieved at the height of the market (€10,000 per sq. m.), however it has set a new benchmark for the street in recent years. Grafton Street rental values have been steadily increasing since 2013 when the Bestseller Group letting was the lowest recorded on the street at approximately €3,300. The launch of the Victoria’s Secret brand has not disappointed, with queues forming along Royal Hibernia Way for the store opening. It is expected that Victoria’s Secret may seek to expand in Ireland following a successful Grafton Street trade.

The launch of Victoria’s Secret comes just after the welcome re-opening of Bewley’s Cafe. Johnny Ronan’s building had been closed for refurbishment and was unveiled a number of weeks ago after undergoing a €12 million makeover. Bewley’s is now once again a hive of activity, attracting hordes of customers wanting to see the new and improved Bewley’s interior, designed by architects Blacam and Meagher. While this is not a new international retailer, Bewley’s gives character to the street and maintains the element of cultural importance that gives Grafton Street its unique atmosphere.

2018 will see further development of Grafton Streets prime frontage. The most significant of which will be the letting of 72 Grafton Street, which has been on the market to let via joint agents JLL and Savills. With a number of international retailers hoping to secure space on Grafton Street, a building of this calibre is set to attract a best in class operator. The former Karen Millen building is the only significant vacancy on Grafton Street at the moment, comprising 830 sq. m. over four levels. The extensive refurbishment of the property by IPUT to an exceptional standard has left an opportunity for the right retailer to gain a presence on the street.

The limited availability of this type of prime retail space means that demand for Grafton Street will always be strong. Grafton Street unlike other European cities is the only street that represents prime in Dublin. The CBRE Retail Team are seeing a large number of requirements from retailers for Dublin City Centre however the challenge is getting the right building to suit these requirements. The most prestigious of retailers do not want to compromise on their trading space in the current market.

The focus is now more than ever on having the optimal store for your target retailer and adapting to suit requirements. This has been evidenced by Lifestyle Sports, And Other Stories and Victoria’s Secrets on Grafton Street. Currently Irish Life are reconfiguring the former American Apparel store at 114 Grafton Street, the planning permission indicates that the unit will have an improved ground floor trading layout, which lends itself better to retail trade and improved frontage. Similar can be seen on the north side of the city centre, where the Jervis Centre has been reconfigured to provide more optimal trading space for key brands such as Arcadia.

A number of landlords are also embracing the use of pop ups in keeping frontage active. This has been seen at 32 Grafton Street where both Lidl and Volvo have both taken temporary lets in the former Loft Café. The concept has also been embraced in a novel way in the Arnott’s shop window with the temporary presence of crowd pleasers such as Scrumdiddly’s Ice-cream Parlour. In the ever-evolving world of retail it is important to cater for this, traditionally pop up stores may have been perceived as negative whereas pop ups can now be a marketing tool, for the brand and the building, showcasing both in their best light.

Grafton Street transactional activity was somewhat subdued in 2017 with three deals being recorded over the course of the year. However, Grafton Street and the surrounding area will be subject to change over the coming years, with new developments, ownerships, retailers and infrastructure all changing the dynamic of the market.

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About CBRE Group, Inc.

CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2016 revenue). The company has more than 75,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate investors and occupiers through approximately 450 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers a broad range of integrated services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com

CBRE U.C., (CBRE Ireland) registered in Ireland, no. 316570. PSRA Licence No. 001528 is the country’s largest commercial real estate services company with offices in Dublin and Cork. Currently employing over 135 employees, we work with occupiers, investors and developers of office, industrial and logistic, retail, hotel and healthcare property, providing strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; tenant representation, corporate services; property and project management; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management and debt advisory; business rates and compulsory purchase and research and consulting. Please visit our website at www.cbre.ie