Luxury brands left struggling from Hong Kong protests

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Luxury fashion retailers including Prada and Cartier are counting the cost to their businesses as months of unrest in Hong Kong continue. The Hong Kong Protests which turned violent on October 1 have dispelled tourists and forced shop closures.
Due to the Hong Kong protests, retailers are trying to renegotiate rent terms to protect themselves from the impact of the unrest.
// Luxury fashion retailers are suffering dents to their profits due to the Hong Kong protests
// 30 shopping centres have closed since the anti-government protests started
// Retailers are now asking Hong Kong landlords to cut their sky-high rents

Luxury fashion retailers including Prada and Cartier are counting the cost to their businesses as political unrest in Hong Kong continues.

The Hong Kong Protests, which had another spate of violence on October 1, are continuing to dispel tourists and force shop closures.

Hong Kong is ranked as one of the world’s top five luxury shopping destinations, drawing in visitors from mainland China and beyond.

According to Bernstein analysts, the city brings in between five and 10 per cent of the estimated $285 billion annual global sales of luxury goods.

However, data on Wednesday revealed retail sales fell 23 per cent in August year-on-year – the biggest decline on record.

The sales value of jewellery and other valuable accessories also decreased by 47 per cent.

Visitor arrivals also saw a drop of 39 per cent, as the amount of of mainland Chinese tourists travelling to Hong Kong fell by 42 per cent.

Luxury goods in Hong Kong are known to be cheaper than in mainland China – sometimes half the price.

“We don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel,” Hong Kong Retail Management Association chair Annie Yau Tse said.

Hong Kong is a major centre for high-end time pieces and as a result watchmakers in particular are in trouble.

The Swatch Group and Cartier’s parent company Richemont depend on Hong Kong for over 10 per cent of their global sales.

Approximately 30 shopping malls have closed since the anti-government protests started several months ago.

The closures have occurred around the same time as the annual Golden Week holiday – which normally is one of the busiest times for retailers in the city.

Hermes said in September it had been forced to temporarily close some of its Hong Kong stores.

Chanel put one of its “Cruise” collection fashion shows on hold, previously set on November 6, saying it would happen when the timing was more appropriate.

However not all retailers are abandoning their business plans more drastically, jeweller Tiffany went ahead with its flagship opening at One Peking Road in September as planned.

Reuters reported that luxury brands, such as Louis Vuitton parent company LVMH, will most likely to be able to absorb any hits thanks to the rising demand in mainland China and other Asian countries.

In addition, many Chinese tourists are also choosing to shop in Japan, South Korea, Australia and Singapore instead – other locations in the region where these luxury retailers also operate.

In the meantime, luxury retailers are reportedly asking Hong Kong landlords to reduce their rents.

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