US fast-fashion retailer Forever 21 will open its second store in Hong Kong this year, capitalising on the shift in consumer demand from luxury to non-luxury products.
“Due to the demand of our consumers, we have continued our expansion throughout Hong Kong and mainland China. Hong Kong also has a vibrant history of international business and we saw a lot of potential for growth, which is why we wanted to bring a second Forever 21 store to this space,” the fashion retailer said in an email reply to Retail in Asia.
The new store will be located at Pakpolee Commercial Centre on Mong Kok’s Sai Yeung Choi Street, trading over 18,804 square feet, people familiar with the matter told Retail in Asia.
“Mong Kok offers a premier shopping experience and we believe it is a good fit for our second store in Hong Kong. We are very selective in choosing a location for any store. We make it a top priority when selecting a new location to ensure that it is accessible to customers and that it can house and properly represent our merchandise, staying true to our brand,” noted Forever 21.
The fashion chain will pay a monthly rent of HKD2.5 million (USD321,000) to lease the three-story retail space with a ground-floor entrance, according to the source. The first floor and the ground floor were currently taken by cosmetic retailer Sa Sa with a monthly rent of HKD1.25 million. The second and third floors were leased to California Fitness for about HKD1 million per month. The fitness center moved out three years ago.
The new store is estimated to open in late summer or early fall this year according to Forever 21.
With a monthly rent of HKD2.5 million for its new store, Forever 21 made the largest retail leasing transaction in the fourth quarter of 2015 in key shopping destinations of Hong Kong, according to data compiled by Retail in Asia. It demonstrates the retailer’s confidence in the market’s potential for cheap chic fashion which also supports CBRE’s prediction that mid-range brands are set to expand in Hong Kong when luxury retailers are struggling with declining sales and leaving core retail locations.
CBRE believes that Hong Kong will transform from a luxury goods oriented retail market to a mid-range market. “Mid-market retailers will benefit from the change in spending patterns and remain the main demand driver for retail space. Some of them will use this window of opportunity to re-establish themselves in prime locations and/ or expand their retail networks,” the real estate adviser said in its latest report Hong Kong Retail MarketView Q4 2015.
With Forever 21 opening another store in Hong Kong, more mid-market retailers are expected to ride on the wave and expand their store networks in the city.
Founded in 1984, Forever 21 now operates more than 730 stores in 48 countries. The brand debuted in Asia in 2008 by launching the first store in Seoul, followed by its second in Japan the next year.
In 2012, the US retailer entered Hong Kong by unveiling a six-floor flagship store in the in the Capitol Centre of Causeway Bay. It paid a monthly rent of HKD11 million for the 51,188-square-foot space.
The fashion retailer currently has 16 stores in Greater China which include 12 stores in mainland China, 1 in Hong Kong, 1 in Macau and 2 in Taiwan.
Aside from Hong Kong, Forever 21 also plans to expand its retail footprint into other markets in Asia although it didn’t disclose the details. “In 2016, we plan on expanding our store presence in Japan, Indonesia, China, and the Philippines,” the fashion retailer told Retail in Asia.