Luxury Brands Go On a Real Estate Shopping Spree

Since the beginning of 2023, major luxury brands have invested over $9 billion in real estate acquisitions.

Luxury Brands Go On a Real Estate Shopping Spree

Since the beginning of 2023, major luxury brands have invested over $9 billion in real estate acquisitions.

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Good morning. Welcome to the weekend edition of CRE Daily.

  • 📰 Feature: Luxury brands $9 billion shopping spree.

  • Catch up: The most-read stories from the week

  • 👍️ Reviews: 4 new product reviews on CREDaily.com

  • 📈 Chart: Distress rate for all property types reaches new high

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Luxury Brands on a Real Estate Shopping Spree

The Louis Vuitton boutique in the Place Vendôme luxury retail area in Paris PHOTO: ANDREA MANTOVANI/BLOOMBERG NEWS

While most CRE investors await a market bottom to deploy capital, luxury brands have collectively spent over $9 billion since the start of 2023, eagerly snapping up properties along the world's most glamorous shopping corridors.

High stakes: The scramble for real estate by luxury behemoths like Kering, owner of Gucci and Saint Laurent, is driven by a blend of strategy and survival. With a recent $1.4 billion acquisition in Milan's upscale Via Montenapoleone, Kering isn't just buying a building; it's securing a legacy and outflanking competitors. This fear of displacement by rivals is fueling an aggressive campaign to own rather than rent their flagship stores.

Making deals: This week, Kering shelled out €1.3 billion (around $1.4 billion with the current exchange rate) to acquire a property on Milan’s prestigious Via Montenapoleone from Blackstone. The street is renowned as one of the priciest retail locations in Europe, yet Blackstone’s investors got a great deal. The PE giant bought this building as part of a 14-property portfolio for €1.1 billion in late 2021. The price Kering paid is equal to a roughly 2.5% cap rate—an astronomical price considering where interest rates are at the moment.

Milan’s Via Montenapoleone, where the owner of Gucci and Saint Laurent bought a building this week. PHOTO: FRANCESCA VOLPI/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Heating up: This is Kering's second major deal of the year, following a $1B Fifth Avenue addition to its portfolio in January. It aligns with a luxury sector trend in which brands have dropped over $9 billion on prime real estate since 2023. With Chanel and LVMH scouting in New York, the race for upscale properties heats up. And if a brand wants a corner on Fifth Avenue, they’ve got to come to Jeff Sutton. From the camera business to a real estate mogul, Sutton has become retail real estate king on New York's prestigious Fifth Avenue.

A photo illustration of Jeff Sutton (Getty)

Luxury ownership: The strategy behind these purchases extends beyond mere possession. Luxury brands, leveraging their deep pockets, can afford to refurbish and transform these spaces into experiences that transcend traditional shopping. Flagship stores are becoming immersive destinations, complete with mini-museums and VIP floors, reshaping traditional retail locations.

➥ THE TAKEAWAY

Big picture: While the surge in real estate deals reflects a fiercely competitive luxury market, it also raises questions about capital allocation. For Kering, property deals are set to consume about 10% of its expected 2024 sales, a hefty investment that stresses the high stakes of securing prime retail locations. Yet, with most of its stores still under lease, the company may explore co-investments to continue this ambitious expansion, possibly alongside partners like Blackstone, signaling a continued bullish outlook on luxury retail real estate.

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⏪ Weekend Wrap-Up

Catch up on the most clickworthy stories of the week.

  • It’s all about supply: The U.S. apartment market in the first quarter of 2024 has been a tale of two forces: strong demand unable to keep pace with an even more supply.

  • The bid: Stephen Ross aims to bring Vanderbilt University to West Palm Beach, with $100M secured for campus expansion funding.

  • New high: According to a report by Moody's Analytics, U.S. office vacancy rates reached a new high of 19.8% in Q1 2024.

  • Falling short: Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust (BREIT) failed to cover its dividend, generating $2.7B in cash but paying out $2.8B.

  • Branded different: Two-thirds of U.S. hotels are branded, yet major companies like Marriott (MAR), Hilton (HLT), and Hyatt (H) don't own 99% of them.

  • How big is the wall? According to a new report from Newmark, banks will face a $2 trillion maturity wall of CRE loans over the next three years.

  • Syndicator scheme: Multifamily syndicator GVA allegedly secured a $56M loan without investor approval, leading to a $7M loss and foreclosure for Overwatch.

  • The king is back: Veteran broker Bob Knakal launches BK Real Estate Advisors, blending artificial intelligence to revolutionize New York City’s commercial real estate market.

  • LA rents: The average asking rent in L.A. County surged to a new high of $2,183 per unit per month, influenced largely by the addition of 2,405 new, primarily high-end units to the market.

  • Construction concerns: Construction spending fell 0.3% in February to $2091.5B, with residential construction up 0.7%, but nonresidential and public construction declining.

👍 Product Reviews

Compare reviews and prices on the top CRE software, products, and services.

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📈 CHART OF THE DAY

CRED iQ's latest analysis reveals a rise in the distress rate across all property types to a record 7.61% in March, up by 26 basis points from 7.35%, despite a net reduction of 18 basis points in three of the previous four months, marking a reversal in the recent trend of modest decreases.

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