Hong Kong loses luxury shopping crown to New York

Manhattan’s Upper Fifth Avenue is now the priciest street globally for shopping. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG - Hong Kong no longer has the world’s most expensive retail district after rents plummeted due to Covid-19 curbs and restrictions on visitors.

Manhattan’s Upper Fifth Avenue is now the priciest street globally for shopping, according to a survey by commercial property firm Cushman & Wakefield. Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui district comes second, followed by Italy’s Via Montenapoleone in Milan. The previously annual survey is the first since 2019.

Annual rents for Upper Fifth Avenue shops averaged US$2,000 (S$2,757) per sq ft, up 14 per cent from pre-pandemic levels, according to the report. Rents in Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon fell 41 per cent to US$1,436 per sq ft in the period, while those in Via Montenapoleone rose 9 per cent to US$1,380.

Hong Kong is struggling with a downturn after some of the world’s strictest Covid-19 measures and the closed border with mainland China slashed the number of visitors. The city received just 250,000 arrivals in the first nine months of this year, compared with almost 56 million for the whole of 2019.

London’s New Bond Street slid one place to fourth, with average rents down 11 per cent, while the Avenue des Champs Elysees in Paris came in fifth after they fell an average 18 per cent, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

The Americas were the most resilient region, largely due to the United States, with average rents now 15 per cent above pre-pandemic levels, the report said. In Asia, they dropped by an average 17 per cent because of border closures, it said.

Tsim Sha Tsui overtook Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay district as the city’s most expensive retail district, according to the survey, which tracks the top retail districts across 92 cities and ranks the priciest by prime rental value. While Hong Kong has removed its most onerous pandemic curbs, including hotel quarantine and flight bans, visitors are still subject to a series of restrictions and tests. BLOOMBERG

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