Lower East Side Fashion Flight Underway

Posted on: June 20th, 2011 at 6:18 am by

The recent trend seems to be that two-high end boutique shops close for every new one that opens. Indeed, the last six months spelled the end for, among others, Bag, In God We Trust, Tangdance, Annie Havlicek, and Kai D. Adrianne Pasquerelli spilled a ton of ink on the subject of this Lower East Side fashion flight in a Crain’s article published yesterday. Her theory is the double-punch combo of little daytime foot traffic and prevalence of nightlife contributes to the downfall.

Herewith, some choice excerpts:

But above all, retailers say the foot traffic, which skyrockets at night, simply does not exist during the day, prime operating time for retail. At the same time, other up-and-coming shopping frontiers, like Williamsburg in Brooklyn, are attracting the same local tenants who are now fleeing downtown’s east side.

…such boutiques have never really thrived in the neighborhood, which is still, first and foremost, nightlife-driven. Though many dive bars still exist, they are now joined by more and more chic nightclubs, each boasting its own distinct appeal.

The influx of nightlife has only driven up rents, making the area even less appealing for emerging boutiques. In the past 18 months, asking prices in the neighborhood have jumped, increasing 20% following recession-related drops. Now, asking rents on prime streets range from $100 to $150 a square foot, while secondary areas are closer to $65 a square foot, according to brokers.

We’ve also heard from a number of shopkeepers that the reputation around here is people look but don’t buy.

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