GLOBAL - Rents in the luxury retail sector are set to increase in the near term after a two-year hiatus, according to Colliers International.

The real estate specialist said rents on most of the world's high streets continued to fall for a second consecutive year, with only a few markets showing moderate increases of between 2% and 9%.

There were only two exceptions to the rule, Colliers said: London's Bond Street, which posted a 50% year-on-year increase, and Sydney's Pitt Street, which showed a 70% increase.

Ross Moore, chief economist at Colliers, said: "Despite an improved global economic landscape, retailers are still expressing caution in terms of expanding and committing to new stores.

"Evidence is mounting, however, to suggest the worst of the downturn is over, and high-end retailers will be back pressing for more high-profile stores."

Moore said the emergence of a sizeable middle class in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and central and eastern Europe was "sure to continue" and that these "aspirational" consumers would be a key source of growth for luxury retailers.

"Although a move to discount retail is apparent in many countries, luxury retail is still a viable sector and one that is still in a long-term uptrend," he said.