Bettina Liano slams “exorbitant” Melbourne rents as Little Collins shop sits empty

Struggling fashion designer Bettina Liano has slammed the high rents charged in the Melbourne CBD after closing her Little Collins Street boutique and opening a new shop in New York’s SoHo district.

In a scathing attack reported in fashion industry magazine Ragtrader, Liano said her rent was over $20,000 a month for the 134-square-metre store - double what she is paying to rent at 246 Mott Street in SoHo. Liano says she also plans to open stores in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami.

The empty store at 269 Little Collins Street is vacant and listed for lease by Max Cookes and Zelmain Ainsworth of CBRE with a seven- to 10-year lease term.

''What I was paying for the Little Collins Street store was exorbitant,'' she told Ragtrader. "It cost me over $20,000 a month but this store in SoHo is less than $10,000 a month. And there are people here. In Little Collins Street, there's no traffic, it's tumbleweeds."

She had previously closed her store on Chapel Street, where she paid rent of $25,000 per month.

Her comments come as the Melbourne Fashion Week is underway.

The Age reports that Liano's Little Collins Street store was closed last month due to a breach of her lease after she failed to fulfil her rental obligations.

Melbourne ranked as the sixth most expensive prime retail rent market in the world last year at $850 per square foot per annum, falling short of London at $988 per square foot, according CBRE figures.

Other vacant retail spaces on Little Collins Street include a 27-square-metre café and basement space below the Causeway Hotel at 353 Little Collins Street, which is being marketed for lease by Jeremy Marmur and Michael DiCarlo of Savills Melbourne.

An 80-square-metre retail space at 347 Little Collins Street is also vacant and available for lease through Savills Melbourne.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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