After months of coronavirus pandemic lockdown, Americans just want to shop. Or at least, they want to visit some storefronts. A new report from brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield, as reported by Business of Fashion, reveals exactly where these customers are and aren’t going by examining the fluctuating costs of retail rent prices.

New York’s businesses unsurprisingly still have it quite hard, with many big retailers and restaurants skipping out on pricey rent or simply folding altogether. Madison Avenue, the city’s famous luxury shopping destination, has seen a massive 52% decline from its five-year peak, dropping 17% in the third quarter of this year alone.

However, the U.S. Commerce Department announced that clothing store sales rose 11% in September, the largest driver of growth in that month, the Associated Press notes. Even department stores saw a 9.7% bump. This isn’t reflected in Madison Avenue’s slumping rent prices, nor is it affecting Times Square — each area is seeing plenty of empty store fronts, with Madison Avenue denoting 35% availability and Times Square 29%.

The small surge is instead exclusively affecting New York’s Lower East Side (LES), the only region examined by Cushman & Wakefield that has seen a rent uptick — 4.5%, to be precise. Home to New York’s SoHo and Nolita districts and a diverse selection of boutiques, the LES is enjoying its second successive quarter of positive growth.

Brands are betting on the region, as some even open new stores mid-pandemic.
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