Big chain stores and rising rents are driving souvenir shops, convenience


stores, discount outlets and lower-end retailers out of Auckland's heart, says a property expert.

Nilesh Patel, Colliers International's leasing associate director, said the arrival of larger national and international brand businesses was forcing smaller operators out of the city and the cost of being in areas like Queen St was rising fast.

"Retailers such as convenience stores, discount outlets and souvenir shops are being forced out of the CBD - particularly Queen St - due to a surge in demand that has seen rental rates increase thanks to the limited availability of retail stock," Patel said.

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"For example, Global Culture have taken the former City Convenience store and Istanbul Kebab stores at 94 Queen St and telecommunications giant Spark is now trading out of the former Fix Convenience Store on the corner of Queen St and Wyndham St," he said.

Tenants in Precinct Properties' Downtown centre have also been given notice and construction of the Commercial Bay office/retail tower is about to begin.

Just after Christmas, The Warehouse opened a new store in the Atrium on Elliot.

Many new luxury brand businesses have already moved into the Queen St area near the waterfront and Patel said that was a signal of more expansion.

"Global brands are capitialising on the increased super-diversity of Auckland, and streets of the CBD are starting to reflect that with more and more of an international flavour.

"Auckland really is starting to feel like a global city - alongside the likes of Sydney and Melbourne."

Vacancy rates are at record lows of around 2.5 per cent, Patel said.