VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Robson Street is the second-most expensive retail area in Canada, but it also had the country’s biggest decline in rents over the past year. That’s the word from Colliers International‘s annual report on the retail sector.

It says Robson Street’s average lease rate of $150 US per square foot is down 25 per cent. Colliers says the drop was “mainly due to transitions of large tenants.”

Canada’s third-costliest retail strip is nearby Alberni Street at $105 per foot, with stores including Tiffany & Co. and Hermes.

Fourth Avenue is ranked 9th at $48 a foot, while Government Street in Victoria is 6th at $60 per foot.

Jim Smerdon with Colliers says this points a shift in the local retail landscape.

“It’s a wonderful problem to have in a city where you have multiple streets, areas, districts and shopping centres where a retailer can make a real good go at it.”
Smerdon adds that means people now have more options, and don’t have to go to Robson Street to get a different shopping experience.

“We’ve seen an amazing rise of Gastown in the last few years with lots of independent brands going in. Retailers that are not part of the regular shopping mall district if you will.”

In Canada, Vancouver is far behind Toronto, where Bloor Street space goes for $310 a foot, putting it 34th on the global list of pricey retail space.

The world leader remains New York’s Fifth Avenue at $2,633 per foot.