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Booming retail occupancy linked to tourist wealth

Media release from Perron Group
Wednesday 6 September 2006

Booming retail occupancy linked to tourist affluence

A further two new leaseholders have been confirmed for Queenstown’s award-winning Sofitel building, bringing occupancy of the complex to just over 90 per cent.

Shop fitting is underway in the Perron-owned Sofitel development on Duke Street for Hunters of Queenstown, a new luxury handbag and luggage shop, and for holiday ownership specialists, Accor Première Vacation Club.

Auckland-based Perron Group owners Mark Perriam and Cameron Marsh said it was encouraging to see evidence that top-end retail in the town continues to flourish.

“Our two new leaseholders are brand new to Queenstown, which gives an indication of their confidence in the town’s continued popularity amongst an affluent group of travelers, and the retailers who respond to those tourist trends,” said Perron Group director Mark Perriam.

“Tourism New Zealand has been targeting higher yield visitors for some time now and demand for retail space in our Sofitel development is testament to those efforts.”

Hunters owner and manager, Susan Hunter, says extensive research and weeks spent traveling around New Zealand led her to the conclusion that luxury leather goods were not well represented in the retail market.

“You can buy Prada or Gucci in New Zealand, and the lower end of the market is catered for to some degree, but we wanted to offer something completely different,” said Ms Hunter.

“Our range of handbags and luggage will be stylish, high-quality designer items at a competitive price. All our goods will be imported from Europe and we’ll be the sole New Zealand stockist for all our bag designers, so customers who buy from Hunters will have something pretty special.

“For our New Zealand flagship store, the Sofitel complex is the ideal place to be. We’re right in the hub of Queenstown where it’s easy for locals and guests to pop in and browse.”

Hunters’ first store in the country will open for business by mid-September. The company has a long-term expansion plan for more stores in major cities throughout the country.

Accor Première Vacation Club’s first New Zealand Preview Centre opened in Auckland in 2005. Demand has necessitated a second New Zealand centre – and the South Island’s first – to open in Queenstown’s Sofitel complex.

“Queenstown was a natural choice for the company, as members already enjoy holidaying in Club apartments at the Mercure Grand Hotel St Moritz,” said Accor Première Vacation Club CEO, Marty Kandel.

“The Sofitel complex provides a central location for the Preview Centre which will act as a base for our guests to learn about our club. The Sofitel building highlights the quality standards our Club represents and our relationship with the Accor group. Over 30 of our staff will be based at the Preview Centre.”

The Queenstown office will be the company’s fifteenth, with construction / renovations on the ground and first floor of the Preview Centre scheduled for completion by the first week of October.

Accor Première Vacation Club is a flexible holiday ownership and lifestyle club developed through a joint venture between Accor Asia Pacific and the Becton Group. The Club was established in 2000 and currently boasts over 15,000 member families who enjoy quality holiday accommodation across New Zealand and Australia.

Sofitel complex leaseholders now include Hunters handbags, Accor Première Vacation Club, Spicy Bites Indian restaurant, Chop Chop Asian cuisine, Euro style bar and dining in Bezu, fine dining in Sofitel’s Vie restaurant, Fatz Cat Italian Ristorante, Esquires coffee shop, Code - the funky metropolitan bar, Sofitel Nue Lounge, Flowers by Lotus, Gary Mahan Antiques and Southern Lakes Heliski.


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