Colliers associate director of retail Nilesh Patel, who leased the space, says R.M. Williams is set to pay a record rent for the prime position.
“They’ve taken the corner of Queens St and Custom St at a record rent to the detriment of Champions of the World, which is a local New Zealand operator,” Patel says.
Colliers director of retail Leroy Wolland says there’s been unprecedented leasing activity in Queen St that’s pushed out a number of local brands, like Champions of the World.
The demand has in turn made rent reach record prices.
Colliers’ 2015 NZ Retail Report says average prime rents in Auckland’s CBD have reached over $4000 per square metre.
Patel says the rent in Auckland's downtown area has gone up almost 200 to 250 percent because of the value of sites.
The demand for sites in the CBD from retailers like R.M. Williams could be attributed to the arrival of luxury brands like Prada and Dior across the road, Wolland says, as well as the major downtown developments underway.
“For a corner, your obvious choice would be a bank as they can afford to pay the rent, but from a landlord’s perspective, down that bottom end is now turning into a luxury precinct, so they’re waiting until a high-end brand comes to them and sitting on it,” Patel says.
R.M. Williams' award-winning store in Westfield Doncaster, Melbourne
R.M. Williams already has 36 stores around New Zealand stocking its clothes, but this will be one of its first standalone stores. It will also be opening a store in Wellington.
The company is an Australian premium mens and womenswear brand that was founded in 1932.
It’s renowned for its leather accessories and footwear and for its founder, Reginald Murray Williams, who was a bushman from the outback that became a millionaire through his business.
It exports its clothes to 15 countries, with more than 50 retail stores in Australia and one store in London.
The Champions of The World site it will take over is around 180 square metres in size.
The R.M. Williams opening date is set for October next year, but this could be subject to change.