Retail in Asia

In Shops

H&M HK flagship store to close amid rent rises

As retail rents boom in Hong Kong, mass-market fashion retailer H&M says it is closing its flagship location downtown after throwing open its doors just five years ago to considerable fanfare.

When the Swedish company opened its first store in China, in Hong Kong’s Central district in 2007, the mood was one of heady anticipation.  At the time, the company had plastered billboards all over Hong Kong’s subways and trams to promote the store’s opening, and eager customers had queued for days to be the first inside its doors.

Now, the company says the 30,000 square-foot store will close in fall 2013. It will be replaced by Zara, a Spanish competitor also known for its similar mass clientele and quick inventory turnaround. Cher Chui, an H&M spokesperson, says that the company had been unable to reach an agreement with its landlord. Zara will be paying about USD1.4 million in monthly rent, double what H&M had been paying.