Singapore-based bookstore-chain Popular has fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic and shuttered all 16 stores in Hong Kong, effective immediately.
However, Popular’s other non-retail businesses in publishing and distribution will continue to operate locally.
The company was recently taken to court by Palliser Investments over unpaid rent for its Whampoa Gardens branch during the past two months, accumulating HK$520,000 in debt. As employees cleared out the stores, Popular’s Facebook and official website page has also been deactivated.
A representative spoke to HK01 news explaining the group’s difficult decision: “The retail book industry in Hong Kong has been facing structural challenges in the market over the past decade. It has continued to deteriorate in the past 12 months, leading to a severe contraction in retail revenue”.
The group will now divert its resources and focus on education publishing, e-learning and educational services instead of retailing, the spokesperson said.
The bookstore-chain Popular Book Company will continue to operate in nine of its other international markets, including Singapore and Malaysia.