Macau souvenir bakery Koi Kei Bakery, known for its peanut brittle and almond biscuits, will be closing its Hong Kong branches in Tsim Tsa Tsui, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok this Saturday, leaving the airport outlet (pictured) its sole remaining store in the territory.
Hong Kong’s tourism board says inbound visitor numbers have plunged 98 per cent this month against last year’s figures, affecting businesses that are heavily reliant on foreign and mainland visitors, including chains such as Sasa, watch and jewellery stores and luxury retailers.
Koi Kei Bakery says the ongoing epidemic has led to problems sourcing raw materials, managing logistics and labour shortages at their Macau headquarters. While production lines are expected to resume soon, the company sees few signs of tourist numbers rebounding in the near future.
Despite the retailer strikes against shopping centre owners last week, some tenacious landlords are still unwilling to ease rents.
Even though several property groups, such as Hysan Development and MTR Corp, have offered rent relief to tenants, many retailers are unable to keep afloat due to the effect of the tourists disappearing.
Annie Tse, chairwoman of Hong Kong Retail Management Association, told the South China Morning Post she predicts more than 7000 retailers will be forced to close their stores if landlords fail to show leniency.