July 30, 2012

Germany's hottest shopping street

Die Zeil, Frankfurt's main shopping street (photo: LZ-Archiv)
Die Zeil: Frankfurt's main shopping street
Frankfurt's so-called "Zeil" has more than 13,000 visitors an hour at peak times. According to real estate services firm Jones Lang Lasalle, this makes it Germany's busiest shopping street ahead of the Schildergasse in Cologne and Kaufingerstrasse in Munich.

Overall, the number of customers visiting Germany's 170 most important High Streets has declined 6 per cent since last year. These figures surprise given that retail sales have been relatively robust in Germany despite the economic downturn in most of Europe.

Experts therefore believe that lower customer frequency in inner cities has nothing to do with this year's poor weather. Instead, they point to an increase in online shopping and a tendency among younger consumers to take fewer shopping strolls.

Shopper frequency – a key metric

"Shopper frequencies are an important indicator of sales potential," says Doris von Muschwitz, Senior Executive Retail Leasing Germany at Jones Lang LaSalle. Apparently, foreign retail investors watch these figures attentively when selecting sites.

After all, to quote various pop songs: We are all "living by numbers" and "everything counts in large amounts".

As Frankfurt am Main's Zeil has now reached the no. 1 spot for the first time since statistics began to be compiled in 1999, it was worth taking a quick walk there to refresh one's memory. Fortunately, the main shopping precinct is only a ten minutes' walk from our publishing house.

Totally rebuilt

As 90 per cent of the surface area of the city was flattened during the War, the once grand buildings on this famous shopping street have been replaced by relatively modern ones of more functional character.

Today, it is home to some big department store chains such as Kaufhof, Karstadt, P&C or H&M as well as the "MyZeil" shopping arcade, but the more exclusive international fashion and jewellery shops are to be found in the classier Goethestrasse a few hundred yards away.

"Zeil" is derived from the German word for a "row". As the name implies, the main part of the street runs more or less in a straight line between two large plazas known as the "Hauptwache" and "Konstablerwache", both historic watch-houses. One wonders what our ancestors would have thought of the Zeil today?

 
Related article in German: Lebensmittel Zeitung, no. 30, 27.07.2012, by Roswitha Wesp

 

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