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Time’s up for Folli Follie: Greek jeweller to quit Hong Kong

Luxury jeweller and watch retailer Folli Follie has become the latest victim of Hong Kong’s perishing retail scene. 

The Greek brand has shuttered its 12 stores in the territory, releasing 60 of its employees locally. It is unclear the status of the Macau stores.

Folli Follie operates five stores under its own brand and another seven under the Links of London banner.

Deloitte Advisory has been appointed liquidator for Folli Follie Group’s operations and is seeking buyers for the operations in China, Japan and Australia.

At its peak, Folli Follie operated in 17 markets across Asia Pacific and Middle East, with 185 locations in Mainland China and 20 in Hong Kong.

Founder Dimitris Koutsolioutsos and his wife currently hold a 35-per-cent stake in the company, with Chinese conglomerate Fosun International being the brand’s second-largest shareholder at 16.37 per cent. 

The company was restructured last November when it struggled to pay its suppliers and workers after facing a financial scandal of misrepresented sales in 2017. That prompted Koutsolioutsos and his wife to resign as chairman and vice chairperson, respectively.

Hong Kong’s retail industry has been deteriorating since social unrest began a year ago, impacting tourist numbers. In April, retail sales declined 36.1 per cent with watches, clocks and jewellery down 76.6 per cent year-on-year. 

Last month, the Hong Kong Retail Management Association sent an open letter to chief executive Carrie Lam seeking government support, saying the industry is facing “a crucial, life-and-death moment of survival”.

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