Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue Mired in $200 Million Retail Rent Fight

Not long ago, major fashion brands were willing to pay ballooning rents just to have a store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. Now the world-famous shopping strip has transformed into a battleground between landlords and tenants seeking a way out of pricey leases.

It’s a side effect of the pandemic that’s plagued New York for more than a year. The foreign tourists who were Fifth Avenue’s lifeblood before the lockdown are gone. So, for the most part, are the office workers who might have stopped at a store while hustling by. Boarded-up spaces and “For Rent” signs are multiplying.

The few merchants looking to sign new leases are demanding deep discounts. Some that have been there all along — such as the National Basketball Association, Valentino and Marc Fisher — are embroiled in legal battles with their landlords over unpaid rent.

Along a roughly 20-block stretch of Fifth Avenue, the handful

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Fashion vs. the Economy: Retail Faces Double Dip

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The economic roller coaster isn’t over — and fashion can just hold on as tight as possible. 

As horrible as the first phase of the coronavirus crisis was, it was relatively straightforward (and straight down). Almost everybody was forced to shut down and go home, leading a projected contraction of more than 30 percent in second-quarter gross domestic product and an unemployment rate of more than 11 percent. 

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Even though the initial shock passed, that sinking feeling hasn’t gone away. No one knows what’s coming next. For retailers and brands, that means adjusting their business models and conserving cash, fingers-crossed they make it to the other side of the open-ended economic crisis. 

The coronavirus is the driving force behind the chaos, but it’s not the only variable. The reactions to the pandemic on the part of federal policy makers,

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