Ermou Street, Athens’s top commercial stretch, has slid to the 28th spot on the global chart of high streets in the course of the last 12 months, according to a survey by Cushman & Wakefield. The cobbled street linking Syntagma Square to Monastiraki has dropped six places from 22nd in 2011.
Still, considering the prolonged recession in Greece and the fact that the survey covers 326 commercial streets in 62 countries, Ermou remains relatively high up.
According to Niki Sympoura, head of Proprius – the company that represents Cushman & Wakefield in Greece – the average rental rate on Ermou amounts to 170 euros per square meter this year, down by 17.1 percent compared to last year. A few years ago the rate for the country’s most popular high street came to between 300-350 euros/sq.m., putting Ermou among the top 10 in the world. Now Ermou is one spot below Istanbul’s equivalent street, 24 places above that in Bucharest and 17 above Lisbon’s biggest high street.
Sympoura notes that “Athens and Thessaloniki, the country’s main markets, have in recent months seen the number of empty stores soar, even at central spots. Nevertheless, the interest is still there, though mainly from international chains that want to make the most of the favorable lease terms in order to get a foot into these markets.”
On global level, 147 of the 326 commercial streets showed a rise in rates, 49 posted a decline and the rest stayed put. Average growth amounted to 4.5 percent year-on-year, with Asian and American markets being responsible for this growth as rates there showed a significant increase.
Causeway Bay in Hong Kong is the world’s leading commercial street after deposing New York’s Fifth Avenue, with the Champs Elysees in Paris coming in third.