‘Trump Tower security creates headache for retailers during crucial shopping period‘ by Daniel Geiger
The protesters, roadblocks and security personnel that descended upon Trump Tower this week have worried retailers who pay some of the priciest rents in the city that sales could take a hit just ahead of the most important shopping weeks of the year.
“If this continues through the holiday season it’s a huge problem for the stores affected by it," said Richard Hodos, a retail leasing broker at CBRE. “Right now, everything is at stake."
Metal barriers lined both sides of Fifth Avenue in front of the 58-story tower where President-elect Donald Trump has both his main residence and the corporate headquarters for his company, the Trump Organization. Police prevented passersby from loitering in front of the building.
“We’re getting feedback from retailers and some property owners about the difficulty shoppers have accessing the area, they’re concerned and they’re not happy," said Tom Cusick, president of the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District. “It’s not that access is being denied, it’s just that it may be intimidating for many visitors who see a gate and a police officer and don’t necessary want to approach. I can tell you that traffic in retail stores has dropped significantly."
Hit hardest by the situation is Gucci, the Italian luxury fashion brand that has a store in Trump Tower and is enveloped by the building’s security detail. A spokeswoman for Gucci did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Gucci, Tiffany and Prada are among the Fifth Avenue retailers that pay upward of $2,000 per square foot for ground-floor retail space.
A spokesman for Tiffany & Co., which has its flagship jewelry store directly next to Trump Tower, on the corner of East 57th Street, acknowledged that access to its store’s main entrance was impeded, but said shoppers could still get in through an entrance on East 57th Street.
“We remain open for business with regular hours," the spokesman said. “Tiffany is in frequent communication with the New York Police Department and U.S. Secret Service regarding safety and security along the perimeter of our Fifth Avenue flagship."