The Hong Kong retail industry is stabilising, says the head of retail REIT Champion, whose assets include Langham Place in Mongkok.
In an interview published by online property forum Mingtiandi, Champion REIT CEO Ada Wong says the return of Mainland Chinese tourists to Hong Kong, now they are being discouraged from going to Korea, is clearly benefiting retailers.
“It’s quite obvious that we’re seeing Chinese tourists coming back to Hong Kong. It’s too early to say that it’s a rebound, but it is stabilising. And if you look at Chinese New Year numbers, the decline has ended.”
Wong agreed the end of the decline is a combination of factors: retailers have changed their strategy and the market has found its natural level.
“Online shopping is very popular so the retailers are adding a lot of lifestyle elements into their stores and also they are incorporating F&B elements into non-food retailers. For instance, at Langham Place we have an optician that created a crossover with a dessert store. Where normally the customers would wait for an hour for their glasses to come out, they can now sit down and have a dessert. So, definitely the retailers are changing and developing new retail formats.
“Existing retailers change a lot themselves. We have the new Lego store, and it helps the footfall, and it’s very attractive for younger people – and we have a store for fans of the Line chat app as well – that gets the young people too. Retailers are changing their mix to provide a lifestyle experience, which is helping to drive footfall and boost F&B revenues.”
Wong said Langham Place has a more ‘mass market’ positioning than luxury, so has been afforded some protection from the fall-out in the luxury sector.
“It has been negative, but it is improving. The position of the mall and our ability to get the big flagship shops – you know something like Lego – are critical,” she told Mingtiandi.
Read the full interview and Wong’s comments on Three Garden Road and other opportunities Champion REIT sees ahead on Mingtiandi.