Singapore-headquartered publisher Page One is to close six stores in Hong Kong International Airport after the operator decided to cull bookshop tenants.
The move leaves the company with just two retail stores in Hong Kong, but a growing network in Mainland China. The company closed its VivoCity store in 2012 but maintains its headquarters in the city state and its publishing operation here.
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.
Page One’s two remaining retail stores in Hong Kong are 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.