Gediminas Avenue and Apranga clothing set real-estate, retail records

  • 2004-11-01
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - Gediminas Avenue in Vilnius continues to hold its reputation as the most expensive shopping address in the Baltics, the London-based real estate group Cushman & Wakefield Healey & Baker says in its latest study, Main Streets Across the World, which tracks the retail rents of 229 streets in 45 countries each year.

With the average rent at 761 euros per square meter per year, Gediminas Avenue has climbed to 37th place, from 38th in last year's ranking.

Other Baltic streets of gold include Viru Street in Tallinn, which ranked 44th, and Krasta Street in Riga, which came in 45th on the list.

However, the average rent per square meter on Gediminas Avenue exceeds Viru Street's rent by 53 percent, and outstrips the real-estate value of Krasta Street by 2.1 times.

New York's Fifth Avenue stole the top spot for chic addresses and pricey rent, with companies paying an average of 8,406 euros annually per square meter.

The iconic Champs-Elysees, Paris, was close behind with an average annual rent of 6,287 euros per square meter.

Causeway Bay in Hong Kong ranked third with 4,700 euros per square meter per year, while Oxford Street in London was fourth with 4,400 euros.

Lithuania's retail shopping sector, in general, is doing well this season as clothing retail leader Apranga, controlled by MG Baltic, expects to beat full-year profits.

Such optimistic forecasts come after the chain reported pretax earnings of 3.7 million litas (1.07 million euros) on sales of 88.8 million litas for the January-September period of 2004.

The company earlier said that it was projecting full-year pretax earnings of 8 million litas on sales of 138 million litas.

"Usually we make about two-thirds of our annual profit in the autumn. We cannot make any precise predictions for 2004, however, because much will depend on the weather," Apranga CEO Rimantas Perveneckas, told the Baltic News Service.

Apranga boosted its sales by 38.3 percent year-on-year in the first nine months of 2004. Pretax earnings, meanwhile, climbed by 6.1 percent, exceeding the target nine-month figure by 30 percent.

The group results include the figures of subsidiaries Apranga Estonia and Apranga LV, which took over Zara store operations in Tallinn and Riga in mid-August.

The retailer intends to expand its Baltic chain to 40 outlets by the end of this year.

Foreign market sales comprised some 38 percent of the retailer's total turnover in the first nine months of 2004.

Baltic Investment, a subsidiary of MG Baltic, owned 53.8 percent of Apranga's stock as of late May. The clothing retailer, quoted on the Current List of Vilnius' securities exchange, has a market capitalization of about 112.5 million litas.