The number of Hong Kong airport bookshops has been nearly halved, resulting in the departure of well-known brand Page One.
HKIA officials say the cull – from 16 outlets to just 10 – reflects changing shopping patterns by travellers.
The exit of Page One coincides with the appointment of state-owned, Mainland China chain Chung Hwa to operate five of the outlets, suggesting a drastic erosion of English language products on sale at the airport.
Singapore-based Page One will lose six stores at HKIA and is now left with just two retail stores in the territory – a 35,000 sqm flagship at Festival Walk which opened in 2014, and a second store at Harbour City (pictured).
The demotion of books as a retail category at the airport runs deeper, with the two largest bookshops – 250 sqm sized Relay and Page One shops airside in Terminal 1 – to be replaced by luxury fashion stores MCM and Hermes.
Relay currently has 10 stores – after the cull just five will survive.
An HKIA spokesperson said the change reflects a “change in reading habit and advancement in technology” and resulted from analysis of customer surveys on their retail needs at the airport.
A Page One spokesperson told the South China Morning Post the number of outlets proposed by airport officials was “not appropriate for us to continue our presence”.
Together with a downturn in tourism and sluggish economic conditions the company decided to exit the airport and re-evaluate plans for retail stores to “match the current retail downturn,” the newspaper reported.