C&A: First Victim Of Primark’s Gran Vía Megastore

16 September 2016 – Cinco Días

The Dutch fashion retailer C&A has closed its store on Madrid’s Gran Vía, 48 because “it was not profitable”, according to sources at the firm. The premises, which have a surface area of 2,500 sqm and are located very close to the central Plaza de Callao, closed its doors for the last time on 31 August, according to the portal Modaes.es. It is the first victim of the mammoth Primark store, which first opened its doors on the street in 2015.

The C&A megastore first opened its doors to the public in October 2013, occupying a newly constructed building on the corner of Gran Vía and Calle Tudescos, on the site that previously housed the headquarters of Banco Atlántico. The property, which is 45m tall, was designed by the architect Rafael De La Hoz and represented the first new building on the Madrilenian avenue since 1932.

The Dutch firm leased the first floor of the building. “The store was not big enough to allow us to display all of our collections”, say sources at the firm. The rest of the property was dedicated to luxury homes and apartments. “Gran Vía was an innovative concept. It was the most modern store at the time”, said the sources. The owner of the commercial premises where the C&A store was located was the German real estate management fund GLL Real Estate, which acquired the site two years ago in an operation advised by the property consultant Aguirre Newman.

The arrival of the Irish chain Primark in Gran Vía in October 2015 has caused a revolution on the iconic Madrilenian Avenue. A real commercial rebirth, after several years when we saw mythical premises, as well as several cinemas close their doors. Rental prices in the area are rising after the crisis, driven by the constant pilgrimage of clients to the district. C&A did not want to associate the arrival of the low-cost fashion giant with the closure of its central premises. “It has not been a determining factor”, sources assured.

The firm explained that, after three years in the premises, it was no longer profitable. “Openings and closings are part of the evolution of a retail business”, they explained. The 16 people that worked in the store have been transferred to other shops. The only store that the chain still has in the centre of Madrid is located on Calle Conde de Peñalver, number 8, in the Goya area, premises that have a surface area of almost 5,000 sqm. Following this closure, the chain “does not rule out” opening other stores in the area, but it has not signed any deals.

The fashion chain, controlled by Cofra Holding – the investment group owned by the Brenninkmeijer family – has more than 2,000 stores in 23 countries and almost 60,000 employees all over the world. In 2015, the Spanish subsidiary, led by Domingo Esteves, reported losses of €10.6 million, a significant improvement compared to 2014, when it lost €41.1 million. Its turnover amounted to €363.1 million. The firm has more than one hundred stores across Spain. It will inaugurate its next store in the Fan Mallorca Shopping Centre, which is due to open on 22 September.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Eduardo Loren García)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Gran Vía: The New Showcase For Flagship Fashion Stores

5 September 2016 – Expansión

Along the one-hundred year old Gran Vía, fashion houses and hotels are now competing with restaurants, cafes, theatres and cinemas to occupy space on the sought-after street in Madrid. The thoroughfare was known as the Madrilenian Broadway in its heyday, thanks to the profusion of cinemas and theatres that it housed and which, to a lesser extent, still remain today.

In the race to set up shop on the busiest thoroughfare in Madrid, the largest brands and more contemporary designer hotels now occupy buildings that were formerly inhabited by banks, insurance companies and large cinemas.

In this sense, the size of the buildings on Gran Vía, makes them more attractive assets for fashion chains to house their large flagship stores than, for example, the properties on Calle Preciados. According to a calculation by the consultancy firm CBRE, in 2014 and 2015, real estate investment on the street amounted to €1,100 million.

Undoubtedly, the most significant operation in recent years was Pontegadea’s purchase of the property at Gran Vía, 32 in January 2015. The investment arm of Amancio Ortega, the founder and majority shareholder of the retail giant Inditex, paid €400 million for the asset. And that is the building that Primark chose to locate its flagship store, which occupies five storeys over 12,400 sqm. The megastore has become a tourist attraction in itself and there were traffic jams and queues at its doors during the first few months after its opening.

Following this example, other brands have opened stores on Gran Vía in the last year. For example, the fashion accessory chain Parfois and the Spanish jewellery firm Tous, have taken up residence at numbers 42 and 38, respectively. In addition, the cosmetics firm Nyx and the sports brand Adidas both opened new stores at numbers 21 and 36 of the Madrilenian street in the spring of 2016.

Moreover, the stretch of Gran Vía that runs from Plaza de Callao to Plaza de España has been revitalised in recent months, with the arrival of the gift and accessories chain Ale-hop at number 74, the perfume store Druni, at number 61 and Axa’s purchase of the Rex cinema building.

The future renovation of that building, alongside the refurbishment of the controversial Edificio España, which has changed hands several times in the last two years, will also help to reactivate this final stretch of the street.

Other important transactions on Gran Vía have involved the premises at number 44, measuring 500 sqm. That property, which used to house a branch of Bankia, was acquired by Hines at the beginning of the year from the Baraka group – the current owner of Edificio España – for almost €40 million. Meanwhile, the Socimi Saint Croix acquired another property on Gran Vía – specifically the building located at number 55 – for €13 million in March this year.

The size of the buildings on Gran Vía makes them ideal properties for flagship stores.

Original story: Expansión (by R.Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake