Re: Re: Grafton Street, Dublin

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I’ve been reading about some of the new tenants who have recently located on Grafton Street and am beginning to think that the street’s fortunes are finally changing. Although it’s been a long time coming, it appears that the street’s outrageous rents are finally forcing some of the more tacky retail chains to move elsewhere and allow more high-end shops, which can afford the rents, to enter the street.

Over the past eight months or so we’ve seen the Serena store at the southern end of Grafton Street vacating its premises to be replaced by the Italian fashion chain Sisley, which forms part of the Benetton group. Principles has also left to be replaced by the more up market British fashion house Karen Millen. Jack Jones also left the street to be replaced by the expensive Austrian crystal and jewelry store Swarovski. And although Jigsaw was a fine tenant for the street, the news that it’s leaving its premises and will be replaced by the even more up market fashion label Ted Baker is no bad thing. And finally, the highly expensive London-based jewelry store Boodles also recently opened in the shop formerly occupied by middle-of-the-road British chain Suits You. News that Tommy Hilfiger is on the lookout for a premises on the street is also welcome.

And although the tenants can hardly be regarded as up market, the news that both Zara and H&M are opening major stores in the new King Street complex beside the Gaiety is excellent news and a much needed boost for the street as well.

However, I’m still amazed at how few topend, luxury fashion stores seem to want to open on Grafton Street, or indeed anywhere else in Dublin. I’m currently in Sydney and am amazed at how many Gucci, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Prada stores etc. are littered all over the city. Even when I was in Buenos Aires, which is still recovering from a major economic crisis which has left millions in the throng of poverty, there were dozens and dozens of luxury fashion stores everywhere. Also, the places where these stores are located are often on small, badly paved, litter strewn streets, with little class or sophistication that compare badly to the charm that Grafton Street and its surrounds still have, especially in the case of Sydney.

Is it that we Irish simply don’t know good taste and therefore luxury brands know that they can’t afford to open here?

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