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Retail and Leases, Recovery Driven by Luxury and New Trends: Here's What's Happening

Roberta Maiolino, High Street Retail expert of Colliers Italia’s Capital Markets team, explains the latest developments and opportunities of an evolving market. The team will be present at MAPIC Italy on 18-19 May 2022.


And what if the post-pandemic period had unveiled new formulas and ideas for a sector — leases for retail — that not only seems to be recovering, but actually relaunching? This is what is emerging from the data and transactions managed by Colliers Italia’s Capital Markets team, which for months has been observing strong dynamism on the part of retailers, back on the market with new bricks-and-mortar strategies. This resilient and innovative approach is changing the main trends. Here's how.

The current uncertainty is not an obstacle for retailers. Quite the contrary. The need for a new risk-opportunity balance has translated not into caution that leads to standing still, but into a different way of operating on the market.

One of the emerging phenomena is the pop-up store: a solution that in some cases allows the retailer to be physically close to its customers and, at the same time, to lower the risk. This trend has consolidated during the post-lockdown reopening period and does not seem about to disappear. From a post-pandemic solution, it has become a test bench for brands landing in new cities: if it works, more permanent solutions can be conceived; if it does not work, the risk has been drastically lowered anyway.

From a real estate point of view, the trend has led market players to greater flexibility with less binding contractual structures for the parties: shorter durations or with break options that are easier to manage. This is an advantage for retailers, but in some cases also for landlords, who in a period of uncertainty could perceive the long term as a risk.

However, the recovery is not based solely on new trends. Long-term leases continue to maintain a position of absolute importance. In the special ranking of most vibrant cities, Milan is on the top step of the podium, followed by Rome, Florence — in which interest is growing — and Naples. Currently, Colliers Italia’s Capital Markets team is managing leasing mandates for almost 20 thousand square meters in Milan, thereby consolidating our huge role in the Quadrilatero della Moda fashion district. The most significant movements are in the Via Monte Napoleone area, with — among others — the Blackstone asset at number 8, and the presence of important fashion houses that are relocating their flagship stores in this location. Without forgetting Via della Spiga, which is undergoing a major relaunch with Ralph Lauren, Moschino, Sergio Rossi and Kering, and Via Manzoni, with Fendi Casa, Maison Sisley and Scotch & Soda.

In general, operations in the city are located in 40% of cases in the Quadrilatero della Moda and in 20% in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, with the recent openings of important luxury brands such as Moncler, Fendi, Gucci and Dior.

There are important development projects in Milan and Rome, which reflect the sector’s dynamism. In the wake of the Michelin-starred restaurant Horto, which will occupy the panoramic terrace of Palazzo Broggi, other brands have expressed strong interest in the project, also in the Luxury & Affordable segment.

Particularly significant is the transaction managed by Colliers Italia’s Capital Markets team on behalf of Generali, the opening in Mercanti 21: a space of about 2,000 square meters for one of the most famous multi-brand stores with a focus on luxury. A newcomer from the online world that has chosen Milan to land in Europe with its first flagship store: an important signal for the city and for the area between Piazza dei Mercanti and Piazza Cordusio.

Luxury is the most resilient sector, which has recorded the highest number of transactions on the market. This phenomenon is due to the inelasticity of the demand for luxury goods and the rapid response to new online purchase needs.

Among the luxury products, clothing remains the king of new openings. Watchmaking also plays an important role — with the new openings in Milan of Breitling, Hublot, Rolex, Verri 7 and Harry Winston — as do design, with Moscova 33, and automotive, with Link & co in Rome.

Another fundamental asset is catering which, despite changes in consumer buying habits, remains one of the most active sectors in the Italian market. In fact, food has managed to keep up by creating new formats such as grab and go, ready to eat, as well as obviously being able to adapt to the delivery era. The active brands also include the international chains that are arriving for the first time in Milan such as Hard Rock Cafe, which will open its doors in via Dante.

To discover the new High Street Retail trends in Italy, come and visit us in the Purple Lounge at Mapic, from 18 to 19 May 2022 in Milan, at Superstudio Maxi. The experts of Colliers Italia’s Capital Markets team are waiting for you: contact us for an appointment!

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Roberta Maiolino

High Street Retails


Professional with over 10 years of experience, graduated in Economics and Management of Tourism Businesses at the University of Catania, Roberta Maiolino has worked for various international real estate companies. She started in 2009 as part of the Retail asset management team at CBRE Global Investors, and then joined the Savills Italy Valuation & Advisory team in 2014. Her passion and deep knowledge in the Retail sector is consolidated during her experience in Italy Fudosan Real Estate where she holds the role of High Street Senior Consultant. She contribute to creating synergies with international investors and brands operating in the Luxury and premium segments, managing significant leasing transactions on the Italian market. Roberta joined Colliers in July 2021, as part of the High Street Retail team, working on Leasing & Capital Market activities.


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Niccolo Suardi

Head of High Street Retail


Professional with over 11 years-experience in the Real Estate Services, after having worked in various local companies, he joined World Capital Group in 2013 covering various roles including Head of Advisory, managing the Letting & Investment team. In 2016 He moved to the BNP Paribas Group, initially as a Senior consultant in the Office Department,  and then received a mandate for the launch of the local unit dedicated to Retail. He also contributes to the development of the Pan-European platform by creating a channel dedicated to the High Street segment and strong synergies with the major Italian brands. In recent years it has consolidated its position by focusing on the Luxury and Premium world, managing significant operations, including those of international importance. Today Niccolò is Head of High Street Retail in Colliers Italy and he handles the Leasing & Capital Market Team.

"Retail is a world totally driven by brands. Brands full of meaning, meaning full of passions, passions full of humans. "
Niccolò SUARDI

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