Article | Future Cities

When location attracts luxury

Lower Queen Street has continued to evolve over the last 10 years as it becomes the premium location for luxury brands. Mark Calvert looks at why the area has become a beacon for the luxury market.

September 16, 2022

By Mark Calvert


Lower Queen Street has continued to evolve over the last 10 years as it becomes the premium location for luxury brands including Gucci, Dior, Prada and Van Cleef & Arpels. Highlighting its attraction as the tourism and business epicentre of New Zealand, these brands are capitalising on the general buzz that the city is generating.

Most luxury brands will plan for a presence in every major global city and Auckland is on the radar as a gateway location. The Pacific region is seeing more focus from these brands, potentially due to Asian markets becoming saturated. There is appetite from luxury brands to expand into New Zealand once a presence in Australia has been established, specifically in Sydney and Melbourne.

Many visiting Auckland, and in fact New Zealand, will head to the CBD and waterfront at some stage, meaning a presence in the heart of the city is essential in reinforcing a brand’s premium luxury status for these international visitors, as well as the important domestic market.

For luxury brands, store location is number one on the list of requirements, and brands will patiently wait for the right site to become available. Adjacency ranks as a close second with many brands specific on the quality neighbouring retail to protect brand integrity.

For countries the size of New Zealand the focus is on establishing a flagship store. Many luxury brands are unlikely to extend beyond one location, though will of course have wider brand distribution. This flagship is wholly focused on cementing the brand in the market and meeting audience’s expectation to be able to visit the retail bricks and mortar – providing the true luxury experience.

No matter where in the world you are, luxury products are about brand image, presence and customer experience. The purchasing process an important part of that experience; it becomes a celebration of the purchase. We’re seeing this with the luxury brands coming to Auckland, who champion a more personalised sales approach. To enhance the sales process many extend their leases to provide a private viewing setting. Initially established primarily within jewellery stores it is now extending across the whole luxury sector. Though new to New Zealand, it is an expectation of global standards and helps enhance the point of difference for the customer experience.

Plans created pre-pandemic may have been temporarily shelved but we are seeing an influx of interest from global luxury brands to enter the New Zealand market adding to the retail sector environment within the Auckland CBD. This year alone, we have seen the introduction of world-renowned jewellery brand Van Cleef & Arpels into New Zealand through their flagship store on Lower Queen Street. Partridge Jewellers, a local operator, is currently expanding their business into the Lower Queen Street precinct, highlighting their confidence in the market and bringing an enhanced local customer experience to rival international brands.

As Auckland continues to sparkle in the sun, I’m excited to support the changes that will help shape the luxury retail within the CBD.