Madrid & Barcelona Enter Top 40 Most Attractive Global Cities for Retail

19 October 2018 – Eje Prime

Madrid and Barcelona are two of the most attractive cities in the world for retail. The two Spanish cities rank amongst the forty most attractive places for commercial activity, according to the Hot Retail Cities report, compiled by Modaes.es, with the support of Tendam and in collaboration with Instituto de Empresa.

The top 3 of the ranking features New York, Los Angeles and Singapore. Madrid and Barcelona are ranked ahead of metropolises such as Milan and Moscow, boosted by factors such as economic openness, the socio-economic environment and the presence of international operators. Moreover, in the fashion category, the two cities are also cradles of some of the world’s retail titans, such as Inditex, Mango and Tendam, and they are home to one of the largest European department store groups, El Corte Inglés.

Barcelona is ranked at number 29 on the list, scoring 425 points out of a possible total of 1,000. Tourism, the presence of fashion operators in the city, the commercial streets and their structure and geographical location are the key factors that place Barcelona within the top thirty hottest cities on the planet. In recent years, the city has become a gateway for major international retailers, such as Uniqlo, which chose the city for its debut in Spain.

Meanwhile, the Spanish capital is positioned at number 36 in the Hot Retail Cities ranking with 410 points. In the case of Madrid, factors that work in its favour include commercial openness, economic stability and recovery, and the multiplicity of prime thoroughfares such as Calle Serrano, Gran Vía, Fuencarral and Calle Preciados.

The criteria for compiling the ranking are grouped together under eight general points that companies assess when it comes to studying the city: demographics, economy, politics, socio-economic environment, tourism, retail, fashion and trendy cities. In addition, analysis criteria are included about the more or less optimal conditions of each city for international retailers.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Bankia Puts Branch in Barcelona’s Plaza Cataluña Up For Sale for €28M

5 July 2018 – Idealista News

Bankia is replicating in Barcelona what it has already done in Madrid with c/Alcalá 1. The bank has put up for sale the commercial premises in the building that it owns at number 9 Plaza Cataluña, in the centre of Barcelona, for €28 million.

The entity opened the bidding last week and will start to receive offers for the premises, which have a surface area of 1,000 m2, from Friday 6 July onwards. The asset, located between the Apple and Desigual flagship stores, has already attracted several suitors, including retail operators and international investment funds, according to Idealista.

The premises, which Bankia debating whether to put up for sale or lease, was the object of desire of the Japanese fashion giant Uniqlo for its arrival plan in Barcelona. In the end, that firm opened its flagship store close to Plaza Cataluña, at the intersection of Gran Vía and Paseo de Gracia.

This operation follows the deal that Bankia already initiated in March involving c/Alcalá 1 in Madrid, as revealed by Eje Prime. For that central property in the Spanish capital, two real estate funds, Renta Corporación and Arcano, are still the favourites to acquire the asset, which, nevertheless, has not yet been sold for its minimum asking price of €20 million.

Original story: Idealista News

Translation: Carmel Drake

Portal del l’Ángel is Still Spain’s Most Expensive High Street: €280/m2/month

19 February 2018 – Eje Prime

The retail sector strengthened its market during 2017. During the second half of the year, it saw growth in the demand for rental properties of 14%, whilst the number of premises for sale rose by 9%. Of all of the high streets across the land, Portal de l’Ángel in Barcelona retained its position as the most expensive in Spain, with an average rent of €280/m2/month, ahead of the Madrilenian street Calle Preciados, where the average price of a retail premise stands at €270/m2/month.

Last year, €4 billion was invested in the Spanish retail sector, in contrast to the crisis that the same market is currently experiencing in the USA. The reasons for the growth in Spain include, amongst other aspects, the strong economic outlook, the boom in commercial tourism and the dynamism of retail trade, according to a report from the real estate consultancy firm Forcadell.

The upward trend, which has now seen two years of increases, is encouraging demand for retail assets. Nevertheless, in cities such as Barcelona, the supply of premises for rent remains at very low levels, above all on the first and second line, which has led to a reactivation of the third line, according to the report.

This lack of commercial space has resulted in a scarcity of prime assets in the Catalan capital. Some companies have already chosen to move to less central locations or to opt for other formats to invest in retail.

Between June and December, the restaurant sector was the segment that grew by the most in the commercial sector in Barcelona, followed by the fashion operator segment, which increased its commitment to flagship stores and showrooms, and the food retail market, which is immersed in a process of positioning itself close to its customers. The profile of investors in retail in the city are Socimis and foreign investment funds.

Investments in Barcelona  

One of the most noteworthy operations closed during the second half of 2017 in Barcelona saw the opening of Uniqlo’s flagship store on Passeig de Gràcia, the Japanese firm’s first store in Barcelona, which spans a surface area of 1,800 m2.

On the same street, Adolfo Domínguez is also going to open a mega-store measuring 682 m2, whilst nearby, on Rambla de Catalunya, the French lingerie brand Etam has inaugurated a store measuring 500 m2. Finally, Leroy Merlin is finalising the opening of an establishment measuring 2,450 m2 on Calle Fontanella, near Plaça de Catalunya, scheduled for before the spring.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Uniqlo Opens Its Second Store In Spain

8 November 2017 – Expansión

The textile firm Uniqlo, owned by the Japanese group Fast Retailing, is pushing ahead with its expansion plans in Spain. After years searching for a suitable location, the Japanese company is going to open two stores in the country in just a month in a half.

On 20 September, Uniqlo opened its first store in Spain. The chosen location on that occasion was the building at number 18, Paseo de Gracia in Barcelona, opposite one of the country’s largest Zara stores, the main brand of the Inditex group. Measuring 1,730 m2, over three floors, the Japanese brand’s first store in Spain is enjoying considerable success that exceeds expectations, which has strengthened the firm’s commitment to the country.

“We are committed to this new market and we hope to open stores in several of the country’s main cities to bring Uniqlo’s LifeWear to the greatest number of consumers possible”, explain sources at the company.

Proof of this commitment is the opening of its second establishment. Uniqlo has also leased a store in the Gloriès shopping centre in Barcelona, where it will open its second store in Spain on Thursday 9 November. Specifically, the Japanese brand has leased 1,317 m2 in the centre, which is owned by the French-Dutch group Unibail Rodamco.

Uniqlo’s opening will coincide with the inauguration of the expansion of the shopping centre. With an investment of more than €100 million, the expansion works began in 2014. The ground floor was inaugurated in December 2016. Besides Uniqlo, H&M is also going to move into this space; it is going to open its largest shopping centre store in Spain in Gloriès, measuring 3,600 m2. The Swedish brand will also debut its H&M Home brand in Barcelona in this store.

Moreover, the new space will be home to the Mercat de Gloriès – a space with 20 local and international food products -, Fresh! – an area for fresh products that can be cooked on the spot – and La Cuina – an area focused on gastronomic encounters.

Unibail, one of the largest owners of shopping centres in Spain, plans to invest more than €677 million between now and 2024 developing large projects in Spain.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Uniqlo Signs Lease To Open Mega-Store In El Jardín de Serrano (Madrid)

22 September 2017 – Eje Prime

The Revilla brothers are making their investments profitable. The company Hermanos Revilla, which specialises in the acquisition of real estate assets in Madrid, has signed a pre-lease contract with the Japanese fashion chain Uniqlo to open a mega-store in El Jardín de Serrano, a shopping arcade in the heart of the Salamanca neighbourhood. According to sources close to the operation, the store will be opened by 2020 and will see the conversion of the arcade into a single store.

El Jardín de Serrano is located at number 6 on Calle Goya, in the heart of the Salamanca neighbourhood of Madrid. Uniqlo will occupy two floors of the property, specifically the first and basement floors, which together span approximately 1,300 m2. The property, which will be subject to a comprehensive renovation, has been on the market for a long time and had also received interest from groups such as Primark and H&M.

According to the same sources, the rental contracts of all the retail establishments that currently occupy the arcade expire in 2019. In this way, Uniqlo and Hermanos Revilla will have a period of one year to carry out the necessary construction work to transform the property into a large format store. Professionals in the sector consulted by Eje Prime say that Uniqlo will pay rent of approximately €2.5 million per year.

El Jardín de Serrano underwent a remodelling project in 2011. It has a total surface area of 3,700 m2, spread over four floors. If Uniqlo does end up moving into the property (it has included a cancellation clause in the pre-lease contract, to be invoked in the event that “a better opportunity arises”), then the two upper floors will continue to be used as offices. This will represent the fashion chain’s first store in Madrid.

Sources at Hermanos Revilla declined to comment about the deal, whilst some of the establishments that currently operate in the shopping arcade confirmed that they are aware that negotiations are underway for a fashion brand to open a large store in the building.

Hermanos Revilla is one of the main investment families in the real estate sector in Madrid. The company owns a portfolio of properties comprising office buildings and shopping centres, such as the case of El Jardín de Serrano.

Currently, Hermanos Revilla own a dozen office buildings located in the financial district of Madrid, including iconic assets on Paseo de la Castellana, where it owns number 41, the buildings at numbers 29 and 8 on Calle Goya (which together span a surface area of more than 10,000 m2 for offices and retail use) and number 35 on Calle Jorge Juan.

Hermanos Revilla also owns other properties in the Chamberí area, with a building at number 2 on c/José Abascal; in Chamartín, with an asset at number 132 on Principe de Vergara; the Musgo 1 and Musgo 3 buildings in the Moncloa area and four buildings on the outskirts of Madrid, in the M-30 and A-2 districts.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Luxury Brands Flood Barcelona’s Paseo De Gracia

22 September 2017 – Eje Prime

Paseo de Gracia is getting ready to renew its portfolio of brands. The street, one of the most sought-after in Spain for international luxury, will see the arrival of three new firms over the next few months. According to modaes.es, Christian Louboutin and Isabel Marant will both open their second stores in the Spanish market, whilst Fendi is going to make its debut in the country.

Those three firms will soon play their part in a busy year for Paseo de Gracia. On Tuesday, the Barcelona street witnessed the public opening of Uniqlo’s first establishment in Spain, whilst a week ago, Kiabi was in the limelight, when it opened a store at number 11.

In February, H&M opened its largest establishment in the Spanish market on Paseo de Gracia in the Generali building, and in April, Sandro, owned by the French group SMCP, opened its first store on the street at number 37.

Isabel Marant, who already has one store in Madrid, has signed the lease at number 32 on Paseo de Gracia, after the investment fund BMO Real Estate Partners decided to split the premises occupied by Adolfo Dominguez in two.

The arrival of Isabel Marant in Barcelona comes just a few months after the investment fund Montefiere Investment acquired 51% of the share capital in the French company, with the aim of accelerating its development and geographical expansion (…).

Meanwhile, Christian Louboutin will take over the Starbuck’s store on the avenue. The US coffee chain currently occupies number 97 on Paseo de Gracia, next door to the multi-brand business Santa Eulalia and the firm Jimmy Choo.

The footwear brand launched its first establishment in the Spanish market in 2009. Christian Louboutin opened a 150 m2 store at number 13 on Calle Claudio Coello in Madrid.

The third operation on Paseo de Gracia is going to star the French giant LVMH. Fendi has signed the lease of number 38 on the Barcelona street, a property that has been on the market since March last year, when Hugo Boss moved to another site.

According to Cushman & Wakefield, after Portal de L’Angel, Paseo de Gracia is the second most expensive commercial street in Barcelona for opening a store. The price per square metre amounts to €230/month, compared to €270/m2/month on Portal de L’Angel, which retains its position as the most expensive street in Spain.

Original story: Eje Prime (by I. P. Gestal)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Global Brands Colonise The Centre Of Barcelona

13 September 2017 – El País

(…). Demand from major operators, such as Zara, Uniqlo, H&M and even Seat, for flagship stores in city centres is boosting investment in these types of high-street establishments. According to a study by the real estate consultancy JLL, such investment amounted to €402 million across Spain during the first quarter of 2017

Examples of flagship stores (…) are found in the centre of Spain’s major cities. One of the most paradigmatic is Primark’s store, which occupies more than 7,000 m2 on La Gran Vía in Madrid (..). Flagship stores are essentially an image, a tourist attraction, where the entire collection of a company is presented and where consumers can also do online shopping and collect orders. It is also very typical for brands to make presentations and hold events at their stores.

In Barcelona, the H&M, Zara and Massimo Dutti stores on Paseo de Gracia, and the large store in the Born neighbourhood where the sunglasses brand Etnia took up residence this year, are examples of the presence of flagship stores in the Catalan capital. On 20 September, Uniqlo, the Japanese competitor of Inditex, will open a large store, also on Paseo de Gracia. But the interest in these types of establishments is not limited to the world of fashion. Companies such as Seat, Ikea and Leroy Merlin, and even large banking institutions, have all expressed their interest in raising their profiles on the main commercial thoroughfares.

“It is the way the brands have of positioning themselves in the market”, explains Daniel Jiménez, Director of Retail at the real estate consultancy Aguirre Newman. Jiménez says that there is a great deal of demand for these types of premises, and that the brands do not settle for any old shop: they want open-plan spaces, in good locations with attractive architectural features.

The effect on local trade

The main streets where the demand is being concentrated in Barcelona are Paseo de Gracia and Portal del Ángel, the most expensive high street in Spain, where prices amount to €3,360/m2, according to a report from Acotex. “The brands fight for premises, whilst the buyers, normally international investment funds, obtain a return of between 3.5% and 3.75% in Barcelona”, says Jiménez.

The emergence of large stores, through which the major international brands demonstrate their power, certainly has an effect on local businesses. The first and most obvious impact is the rise in rental prices. Joan Carles Calbet, President of Comertia and RetailCat, the new association of Catalan traders, celebrates the fact that increasingly more people want to invest in Barcelona. “But these types of stores distort the equilibrium of the city, because they (the large players) can afford to pay a lot more than local businesses, which leads to very high inflation”, says Calbet.

“We risk losing local businesses, which define the character of the city”, adds the President of RetailCat, an association that represents almost 30,000 local businesses (…).

Original story: El País (by Josep Catà)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Interview With Rupert Lea, Partner & Retail Director At C&W

3 February 2017 – Eje Prime

Rupert Lea, Partner and Retail Director at Cushman & Wakefield, analyses the evolution of the retail sector over the last year. “There has been an increase in high street operations, but the deals involving shopping centres have really taken the lead and are positioning themselves as a trend for the next two years”, he said, in an interview with Eje Prime.

Question: Now that 2016 is over, what assessment would you make of last year in terms of retail operations?

Answer: In terms of the volume of transactions, it was somewhat better than 2015. But now, the great trend that we are seeing are shopping centres. We have seen more operations involving shopping centres and retail parks: between 2009 and 2013, there was minimal rotation; investment volumes decreased until 2012. (…). Now, investment is growing at a rate of 50%, driven primarily by the capital markets.

Q: What will 2017 be like?

A: The retail market is a wave: it rises and it falls. Demand will continue to be constant and will have the same strength for the next two years. What sets the tone is the availability of supply, something which fluctuates a lot more in the case of shopping centres and centres that are not prime. (…).

Q: In 2017, several important operations that were closed years ago will bear fruit, for example, Uniqlo, H&M…Is the pace of operations still active?

A: Yes. We negotiate with operators from all sectors who are interested in Spain, including those who want to continue to grow brands that already operate in the country. There is still scope for more flagships to be opened in Spain in very profitable locations for operators, but they have to be experienced stores. That is another trend that is growing strongly. (…).

Q: Can we say that the sector has recovered its pre-crisis rhythm?

A: Any references to pre-crisis are complicated, because periods cannot be compared. What we can say is that some values have now reached higher figures (than pre-crisis), and some other values have not. Monetary policy and investor spirit have changed.

Q: What is the thing that interests operators the most in Spain?

A: Appropriate area of influence, robust consumption, suitable locations and suitable store sizes. The latter is the most difficult to achieve, because there are stores on prime streets that do not fulfil the requirements. Spain has a culture that involves a lot of socialising on the street and that generates a lot of opportunities for retail businesses. The success of tourism is also important for operators to take into account; millions of people visit the country each year and that is like the icing on the cake for retailers. (…).

Q: Do you think that the boom in e-commerce will put an end to the development of retail?

A: E-commerce is a complement. We see e-commerce as an ally: it was born as a challenge for high street traders, but we are seeing successful cross-market formulae. We have online operators who are looking for locations so that users on the street can observe their presence. We also have inverse cross-market formulae: customers want to return in store goods that they purchase online. This is the era of omnichannels, and e-commerce is clearly a complement. (…).

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hines Finalises Purchase Of Popular’s HQ In Barcelona

3 February 2017 – Expansión

Banco Popular’s headquarters on Paseo de Gràcia in Barcelona is about to change hands, in one of the first major operations of the year in the real estate sector in the Catalan capital.

The US company Hines is holding advanced negotiations to acquire the building, in a process that has been well attended by other players in the sector. The contract between the current owner and Hines will be signed within the next few days. The 6-storey property, which has a surface area of 4,000 m2, was constructed at the beginning of the 1960s and is home to Banco Popular’s headquarters in the city, as well as to its regional head office.

According to sources in the sector, the real estate company Hines – which was one of the finalists in the bid for Edificio España in Madrid – will pay around €80 million for Popular’s headquarters in Barcelona.

The building, located at number 11 on Paseo de Gràcia, next to the Barcelona Stock Exchange, came onto the market months ago, during one of the most tumultuous years in the bank’s history, which also coincided with the reactivation of the real estate sector, especially the in the major cities, such as Madrid and Barcelona.

Commercial use

According to various sources, Hines plans to convert the bank’s Barcelona headquarters into a building that can be used for commercial purposes. Its location, on Paseo de Gràcia and very close to Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, makes it ideal for conversion into a flagship megastore for a major fashion brand. In fact, the Swedish fashion chain H&M will open one of its largest stores in the world in the Generali Building today, which is on the other side of Gran Via, and just opposite, is one of the largest Zara stores in Spain. Moreover, at the intersection of Paseo de Gràcia and Gran Via, the Japanese brand Uniqlo is continuing work to open a huge store, its first in the Spanish market.

The possibility of converting Popular’s headquarters into a hotel has been ruled out following the approval of the tourist accommodation plan by the Town Hall of Barcelona – preceded by a long moratorium -, which prevents the construction of new hotel establishments in the centre of the city.

Some sources indicate that Popular has a year to vacate its current headquarters. The bank could move its main office in Barcelona to another site on the same street, on the corner with Calle Aragón, to the lower floors of the building where Banco Pastor used to house its regional head office in Cataluña.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Ruiz and J. Orihuel)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Madrid & Barcelona Renew Their Main Thoroughfares

5 September 2016 – Expansión

Total investment of €900 million / Investment in retail assets at street level doubled to reach record levels in 2015. Pontegadea’s purchase of the building located on Gran Vía, 32 for €400 million accounted for 40% of total investment. Spain is still in the Top 10 target markets for large fashion operators.

The busiest, most touristic and sought-after streets in Madrid and Barcelona, such as Gran Vía and Las Ramblas, have always been an object of desire for the major players in the restaurant and leisure sector; and, for several years now, they have also been attracting the attention of the major fashion chains, which are choosing to showcase their flagship stores on these avenues.

The high footfall rates on these central streets make them the perfect target for housing the flagship stores of major fashion and accessories brands and, in exchange, these historical avenues have renewed their offer and rejuvenated their image.

In parallel, and in line with the rise of the flagship stores, the retail sector has experienced a general increase in the sale and purchase of large premises. Specifically, more than twenty new international brands arrived in Spain in 2015, of which 60% chose Madrid to open their first store and 32% opted for Barcelona, according to a report prepared by CBRE. As such, in 2016, Spain continues to rank in the top ten target markets for major international companies.

The next major brand expected to arrive in Spain is the Japanese fashion chain Uniqlo. It will begin by opening a flagship store in Barcelona, however, the Asian group is also looking for premises in Madrid. Other firms that have expressed an interest in entering the Spanish market include the Italian brands Terranova and OVS.

Overall, investment in the high street (retail assets at street level) broke records last year, with €900 million invested, twice as much as in the previous year, largely fuelled by Pontegadea’s purchase of the building that Primark now occupies on Gran Vía, 32, for €400 million. That operation alone accounted for 40% of total investment.

In Barcelona, the lack of available supply meant that investment in the high street was not as intense and sales mainly involved mix-used buildings, with a retail component, such as Diagonal 490 and the historical Torre Muñoz, in Fontanella.

The strong demand and shortage of availability in terms of prime supply have caused yields to decrease, to around 3.5% for the best products, in both Madrid and Barcelona. Nevertheless, according to CBRE, that figure is above those reported in other European cities such as London and Paris.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake