A High-End Retail Opportunity Grows in Brooklyn
By Tom Ryan
Following Barneys’ announcement in March that it plans to open
its first store in Brooklyn’s hot Cobble Hill neighborhood, other national
high-end retailers — including
Swarovski Crystal, Anthropologie and The North Face — are said to be
looking to open locations in that New York City borough.
Barneys plans to open
one of its smaller concept Barneys’ Co-Op stores. The format runs around 8,000
square feet and targets a younger, hipper crowd than Barneys New York.
Prices are said to be somewhat more reasonable than Barneys New York but far
from cheap. Dresses can still cost north of $500 and jeans over $300.
An article in The New York
Times said that while retailers with locations
in Manhattan, such as American Apparel, Urban Outfitters and Trader Joe’s,
have opened outposts in the borough, Barney’s Co-Op is aimed squarely at upscale
shoppers and particularly paving the way for other premium stores.
"Brooklyn has the demographics to support this kind of retail, but until
now, no national store was willing to take the chance," Joanne Podell,
the executive director of retail services at Cushman & Wakefield, told
The Times noted that in Cobble Hill, apartment prices regularly
top $1 million and the average household income is more than $109,000, according
to the Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey. In comparison,
the average household incomes on the Upper West Side and SoHo — where
two other Barneys Co-ops are located – are $177,000 and $181,000.
More than 100,000 people live within
a mile of the new Barneys Co-Op, and numerous subway lines converge nearby providing
accesses to thousands of office workers from downtown Brooklyn.
rents in Cobble Hill are roughly 20 to 25 percent of what is available in prime
Manhattan spots like SoHo.
"We are opening the Brooklyn store for the same reason we opened our
location on the Upper West Side: it’s where our customers are living,
and they appreciate us coming to their neighborhoods," said Ms. Brown.
a story that appeared when the store’s opening was first announced, the New
York Daily News found one 57-year old musician who called the Co-Op’s
of the Manhattanization" of downtown Brooklyn.
But April Maddox, a 37 year-old
piano teacher, said, "I don’t think you’ll
find a single woman around here to complain about Barneys coming to town. Pretty
soon, I’ll be able to get all my shopping done in Brooklyn. A few more nice
restaurants and I might swear off the city altogether."
While real estate
brokers indicate increased interest in Cobble Hill as a high-end destination,
one hurdle is a lack of spaces big enough for national retailers. Williamsburg,
which has more retail options, is said to be less appealing because of its
lack of density and access to mass transportation.
Discussion Questions: Will we soon see a broadening of the luxury store
market in other cities, similar to what is happening in Brooklyn? What factors
best determine whether a locale is suitable for targeting wealthy shoppers?
- High-End Retailers Are Scouting Sites in Brooklyn – The New York
- Cobble Hill Residents Fear the Barneys Co-op Will Make the Neighborhood
Pretentious – New
- Barney’s Co-op joining Trader Joe’s and Urban Outfitters in downtown Brooklyn – New York Daily News