The post-pandemic fortunes of Grafton Street have received another boost with the decision of leading 'athleisure' brand, Lululemon to open a standalone store in the premises occupied formerly by Pamela Scott.
The Canadian fashion retailer is expected to open for business at 84 Grafton Street this October following the agreement of a new 10-year lease. Lululemon is understood to be paying a rent of about €400,000 per annum and will trade from 325sq m (3,498sq ft) of space distributed across the ground and first floors of the property, with the remainder of the accommodation being given over to ancillary or staff use.
While Lululemon has had a presence on Grafton Street since 2018, its operations have up to now been confined to a concession at Brown Thomas. The brand's new standalone premises meanwhile comprise a high-profile four-storey over-basement building with a feature double-height glazed shop front. Number 84 occupies one of the best positions on Grafton Street at its Duke Street junction, and is surrounded by a number of premium occupiers including Brown Thomas, Marks & Spencer, Space NK, Rituals, & Other Stories and Victoria's Secret.
Caren Leon of CBRE is believed to have acted for Lululemon while Eoin Feeney of BNP Paribas Real Estate is understood to have represented the owners of number 84, a major Irish pension fund.
The letting will be viewed as another show of confidence in Dublin's premier shopping district coming as it does just weeks after German investor Deka Immobilien agreed the €22 million purchase of the Grafton Street premises of sustainable fashion retailer, & Other Stories from UK-headquartered Aviva Investors.
Earlier this year, Hugo Boss signed a new 10-year lease on its flagship store at 67/68 Grafton Street following the expiration of its old lease in 2020. The premium German fashion retailer committed to a new annual rent of €630,000. The figure represents a 24 per cent reduction on their previous rent of €825,000, which they committed to when they acquired the lease for the store in 2015 from the UK retailer Next.
Taken together, the three transactions should go some way in countering the additional uncertainty Grafton Street and other high streets have faced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. That uncertainty was reflected only recently by Tommy Hilfiger’s decision to close its Grafton Street store permanently.