UK's Topshop opens in high-rent Hong Kong

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 6, 2013 at 6:07 am •  Published: June 6, 2013
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Topshop is working with local department store Lane Crawford to operate the new boutique.

Green said that he's starting his search for mainland locations this week, with Chinese real estate agents visiting him while he's in Hong Kong.

"I'd like to have a flagship in Beijing and a flagship in Shanghai," Green said a day before the store opening. "If we can find 2,000 to 3,000 square meters — we'd like to have a Topman as well — if we can find 2 locations, off we go."

Green said he'd also consider mainland locations outside of the two main cities as well as opening up another Hong Kong store.

Foreign brands prefer to test out the waters in Hong Kong, on the southern coast of China, before taking the plunge into the mainland. The city is an ideal testing ground, with nearly three-quarters of the 49 million visitors received last year coming from mainland China. Their spending helped push up retail sales by 10 percent.

Tom Gaffney, head of retail at real estate at consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle, said foreign retailers in Hong Kong benefit by getting brand recognition and customer loyalty from mainland shoppers.

But he said that rentals, which his firm forecasts will rise 5-10 percent this year, are "something that a lot of the brands are looking at more carefully." They're becoming "quite cautious about taking core locations," he said.

Swedish fashion retailer H&M is one high-profile victim of Hong Kong's high rents. The company reportedly couldn't agree on a lease renewal for its flagship store across the street from Topshop's new outlet and will move out in the fall.

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Follow Kelvin Chan at twitter.com/chanman

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