Retail tenants are moving out into fringe-street locations–locations that are parallel or perpendicular to a high street–to avoid rising rents.
LOS ANGELES—Retail tenants are moving out into fringe-street locations—locations that are parallel or perpendicular to a high street—to avoid rising rents. According to a new report from JLL, which GlobeSt.com has seen exclusively, high-street rents have increased as much as 100% in some markets. It is a trend that happens often in peak market conditions when rents begin to crest, and the fact that it is starting to happen now, indicates that we are at or approaching the peak of the cycle.
“Our business is as cyclical as it gets,” Jason Charms of JLL, tells GlobeSt.com. “When rents start to crest and break through levels of previous ‘peaks’ in the cycle, retailers are going to look at areas that can give them a bit more bang for their buck. There’s always going to be a trade off between sales volume and occupancy cost. For example, if the marketing exposure of being on a Rodeo Dr. isn’t important, the lower occupancy cost of being on Brighton Way may well offset the drop in sales.”
In Los Angeles, retail tenants in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, where high street rents have skyrocketed, are looking for fringe spots where retail sales better justify rents. “We are starting to see retailers consider “fringe” areas due to purely economic reasons. Smart retailers are constantly on the lookout for the new, upcoming areas, in part due to price,” says Charms. “It’s becoming quite difficult to make money at some of the rent numbers we are beginning to see. The larger corporations can write off the occupancy cost as a marketing/advertising expense but the smaller companies don’t have that luxury.”
Charms is currently marketing a space at 420 North Camden, a fringe location of Rodeo Drive, near the Golden Triangle. Retail tenants who fall into this category—someone who is concerned about or can’t afford the high rents on Rodeo Dr. but want the prestige of the area and the traffic that overflows from Rodeo Dr., would be the perfect fit for the location, says Charms, who has been advising his retail clients to find these spots as a solution to the rental increases.
Outside of fringe street locations, Charms says that retailers don’t have many options for avoiding high rents. “The easy answer here is to talk ‘online presence this, digital sales that,’ but we are seeing strong data show that consumers still enjoy a full retail experience,” he says. “Downsizing their retail footprint is always an option. It says more about the overall economy than anything else.”
Savvy retailers are finding multiple ways to adapt at this point in the cycle. In addition to leasing fringe locations, some retailers are also leasing multiple spaces within a single dense urban submarket to control the path of travel and gain more market share.