It’s official: Vancouver’s “mini Rodeo Drive” is the second-most luxurious shopping zone in all of Canada.
For years, Vancouverites who love to shop have known that the strip of Alberni Street between Burrard and Thurlow is the place to go for luxury and designer goods – from Brooks Brothers suits to Tiffany jewelry. Now, a retail research firm has confirmed that with a brand-new study.
Downtown Vancouver’s Alberni Street district is soon to have 21 “free-standing luxury brands,” second only to Toronto’s glitzy Bloor Street, which is home to 23 “free-standing luxury brands,” according to the Winston Collective’s 2015 Top-10 List of Canadian luxury retail nodes.
The Alberni district is anchored roughly by The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on one end and the Shangri-La Hotel on the other, with a one-block stretch of Alberni Street running through the middle. Current or soon-to-be occupants include Hermes, Brunello Cucinelli, Burberry, Christian Dior, De Beers, Tiffany and Escada.
So what qualifies as a “luxury brand”? The report’s authors had a very exclusive definition. High-end designers like Coach and Michael Kors didn’t qualify as “luxury” because their products are too accessible and they’ve aggressively ramped up sales. Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany, by contrast, all made the list.
The report suggests that there are two big reasons behind the sudden explosion of Alberni Street as a luxury hub: the city’s status as a year-round tourism destination and the presence of more wealthy shoppers from Asian countries seeking exclusive products.
Interestingly, Alberni Street wasn’t the only Vancouver luxury shopping destination to make the top-10 list. The Pacific Centre mall came in fifth place and Oakridge Shopping Centre came in seventh place. According to the report, traditional shopping malls are attracting more and more luxury brands because of the convenience they can offer shoppers in terms of parking and other amenities.