Fitzpatricks walks away from Grafton Street after 58 years

Fitzpatricks Shoes store available on a long-term sublet at €510,000 a year

Fitzpatricks Shoes, 76 Grafton Street,  a family business it opened on Grafton Street in 1961

Fitzpatricks Shoes, 76 Grafton Street, a family business it opened on Grafton Street in 1961

 

After years of relative inactivity in terms of property sales and new leases on Grafton Street, retail agents are reporting more movement on Dublin’s prestige shopping street.

Savills has just confirmed it is bringing the Fitzpatricks Shoes unit at 76 Grafton Street to the leasing market. It is available on a long-term flexible sublet at a rent of €510,000 per annum which breaks at €7,750 per sq m (€720 per sq ft).

Fitzpatricks, which opened its first store in 1926, is a family business with a number of shops and concessions around Dublin. Its Grafton Street store opened on November 1st, 1961, and it is one of the last family-run businesses on a street dominated by high-end international retailers and chains.

The retail element at number 76 extends to about 136sq m (1,462sq ft) on the ground floor with a further 130sq m (1,403sq ft) at basement level. At present, the first floor is given over to a 93sq m (1,000sq ft) canteen, the second floor has 50sq m (540sq ft) of offices and the third floor of 64sq m (690sq ft) is used as storage.

Recent lettings on the street include Australian stationery firm Smiggle at number 32 where it occupies 207sq m (2,228sq ft) at a rent of €7,000 per sq m (650 per sq ft); Dutch beauty brand Rituals rents number 81 at €450,000 which has a ground floor area of 110sq m (1,180sq ft); and The White Company at number 72 occupies 800sq m (8,527sq ft) at a rent of less than €750,000.

Number 76 may not be the only shop on Grafton Street to come on the market. A number of leases on the street are in the early stages of being assigned as occupiers test the appetite of the market for space on the street.

International

Overseas fashion traders likely to run the rule over a Grafton Street store include Inditex Group (Zara, Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Stradivarius) as well as Gap and Skechers shoes. At least one Irish jeweller is also understood to be actively looking for space on the street.

Prime rents on Grafton Street are generally stable but are still more than 60 per cent below peak levels reached in 2007, while recent letting activity on the street has been in the €6,566-€6,997 per sq m (€610-€650 per sq ft) range. However, larger units tend to secure better per square metre rents.

Fitzpatricks, which is about half way up the street, is beside Bewley’s and close to Victoria’s Secret and & Other Stories. These latter two retailers have certainly added to the retail mix in a street that had lost some of its fizz during the crash.

While traditional retailing is facing a significant challenge from the march of ecommerce, there is still plenty of interest from retailers for units on prime streets. They offer high visibility and are a good way to develop branding and showcase goods.

Darragh Cronin, director, retail, at Savills Ireland, says “retailers with an omni-channel sales strategy – online and bricks and mortar – will always trade best. While certain larger brands may look to reduce the number of secondary locations they may currently trade from, the need for positioning in prime locations will remain.”

Declan Stone of Colliers International believes city centre shops “will become more like showrooms than fully-stocked stores. They will have to enchant customers with increasing amounts of in-store activity, technology, customer service, entertainment and a feeling of ‘experience’ each time you cross the threshold of a shop”.

A recent report by BNP Pariabas Real Estate pointed to 22 new store openings on Grafton Street since 2013 with the majority of new occupants from mainland Europe. The overwhelming majority of new occupiers fell into the fashion and health/beauty sectors.