It is the epicentre of conspicuous wealth in Vancouver: the stretch of Alberni Street between Burrard and Thurlow is packed with high-end stores where if you have to ask how much things cost, you likely can’t afford them.
The latest store looking to cater to the city’s opulent class is high-end clothier Stefano Ricci.
“I think we have the right people in the city, the people that appreciate quality and are also able to pay for it,” Manuel Bernaschek of Stefano Ricci said.
This kind of high-end retail is likely linked to Vancouver’s housing market, where international investors are parking millions in local real estate. While the real estate market has cooled in recent months, Vancouver’s luxury retail sector shows no sign of slowing down.
“Toronto retailers pay twice the rent and Vancouver retailers earn twice the money,” Retail Insider editor-in-chief Craig Patterson said. “Vancouver is a bit of a superstar right now, it seems, as far as the performance of luxury retailers.”
Vancouver’s wealth is also on display on the city’s roads.
“Per capita, there are more luxury and super cars sold here than anywhere else in North America,” Craig Stowe of Luxury Alliance Group said. “And you have a tendency to see them, because essentially, Vancouver is on an island and it’s attached to Burnaby and West Van and Richmond, so you see a lot of the same spectacular super cars over and over.”
If you have money, Vancouver is an easy place to burn through it.
For the rest of us, the rise of luxury retail is another example that the city is increasingly becoming a playground the rich.
– With files from Aaron McArthur