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'Bling invasion' hikes Bahnhofstrasse rents
Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Perconte

'Bling invasion' hikes Bahnhofstrasse rents

Published: 07 Feb 2013 00:15 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Feb 2013 00:15 GMT+01:00

A lack of space for luxury watch and jewellery shops is driving up rental costs on the most fashionable street in Switzerland.

Fashion boutiques are making way for high-end timepieces and jewels in what the Blick newspaper is calling a “bling alarm” on the Bahnhofstrasse, downtown Zurich’s trendy shopping precinct.

 The Zurich high street is one of the most expensive retail patches in the world, behind only those in Hong Kong, London and New York, according to a report released on Wednesday by Swiss consultants Location Group.

The report highlights the impact of watch and jewellery shops on retail rents on the Bahnhofstrasse, which have tripled in the past 10 years, the report says.

Annual rents on the street are peaking at 13,850 francs per square metre, compared to 9,500 francs on Geneva’s Rue du Rhône, the second most costly place in Switzerland.

“Zurich is currently being overrun by jewellers,” Location Group said.

It said Bucherer, the Swiss watch and jewellery retailer and wholesaler, recently paid seven million francs in “key money” to take over a lease from French women’s fashion house Devernois to open a Rolex boutique on the Bahnhoffstrasse.

Jaeger Le Coultre and another unidentified watch brand are set to open shops on the street, following other openings by IWC and Omega.

In the past year, the number of luxury watch and jewellery shops on the Bahnhofstrasse increased by six to 28, Location Group said.

Other familiar brands not involved in the luxury sector are still making their mark felt on the street.

Apple, for example, is ringing in annual sales of 225,000 francs per square metre at its store there, which amounts to 100 million francs a year.

This is the highest turnover (per square metre) for any store in the world, equalled only by Apples’s store in New York.

Clothing retailer H&M makes almost as much as Apple in Zurich, although it has much more space with three stores on the Bahnhofstrasse.

The rising rents — now higher than those on the Champs Elysées in Paris — have led to high turnover on the street, with tenants changing 53 times among its114 properties in the last decade.

Location Group’s information is contained in a detailed survey of 145 cities and resorts “of the jetset fashion world”.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

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