With retail going through uncertain times, its unknown when or which brand could snap up the prime retail location on Auckland's Queen Street.

First Retail Group managing director Chris Wilkinson said it could be any big name.

Uniqlo, or Forever 21, would be ideal candidates for the spot but Wilkinson said it was unlikely that either retailer would take up the lease.

"Our dream would have been for Uniqlo to come in and take both the Queen Street and the Lambton Quay stores as it would be quite transformational, but what's possibly more likely is other major brands may take it on a short-term basis," Wilkinson said.


"The challenges at the moment is that retail across Australasia is on a bit of a hiatus. The Australian market is facing a lot of pressure and consumer spending is at a bit of an all-time low over there ... and because of that we know that a number of the big chains have paused."

Unqlio is currently busy setting up stores in Australia.

"Forever 21 would take a site like that. At the moment, though, we don't know if they are looking or what their appetite is. But again, they would be really good and welcomed in this market."

Other alternatives could include a conglomeration of brand families under one roof.

"What we may see is that it could be a relocation of an existing business.

"It's possibly a little bit far up for some of the premium brands, and the other aspect is that many of those premium brands will be waiting for Commercial Bay to come along."

Wilkinson hoped potential retailers would take both the vacant Queen Street and Lambton Quay stores.

"Both Wellington and Auckland are absolutely prime sites. These kinds of locations don't come along very often and so the big brands will recognise that.


"We've seen an evolution of some really interesting retail going on around Australasia at the moment with the likes of Culture Kings - it's a brand that has been really euphoric and I'd love to see Culture Kings come to New Zealand and do very, very theatrical retail."

Spanish retailer Zara which has an Auckland store in Sylvia Park mall but not a central city site, could be another contender, along with Mango or Sephora.

JLL retail consultant Chris Beasleigh said the former Topshop site may not be big enough for some international retailers.

"It may not be big enough, even though it is a big property, in terms of Auckland property and what international retailers need - it may not be big enough."

Sephora and Mango are said to be looking for a site in Auckland Central, but Beasleigh said he was not sure if they had done a deal.

"I don't think it will be available for long - there's not many sites with that kind of profile so I would say they have strong demand, and its probably just choosing the right tenant for the building," he said.

"It's a great site and a lot of the work has been done to create that corner profile when Topshop went there so for someone come in and jump into a prime corner where a lot of that work has been carried out - it's pretty much there ready to go.

"With someone who wants to make an entrance into the New Zealand market, that's a pretty good statement to make ."