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Saturday, Jun 03, 2023

Hong Kong-listed EuroEyes to open first clinic in city on Russell Street

Hong Kong-listed EuroEyes to open first clinic in city on Russell Street

Germany-based and Hong Kong-listed EuroEyes International Eye Clinic is set to open its first store in the city, taking over the space occupied by Prada in one of the world’s costliest retail strips.
Germany-based and Hong Kong-listed EuroEyes International Eye Clinic is set to open its first store in the city, taking over the space occupied by Prada in one of the world’s costliest retail strips, to tap booming demand as the city’s economy recovers in the post-Covid-19 era.

The group will take over the ground and third floors at 2 Russell Street in Causeway Bay. The combined floor space spans 7,188 sq ft (667.8 square metres).

Prada’s Hong Kong flagship store occupied 15,000 sq ft across three storeys, for which the luxury brand paid HK$9 million (US$1.1 million) in monthly rent at its peak. It shut its doors after its lease expired in 2020.

“We got a good discount in contrast to Prada,” Jorn Slot Jorgensen, chairman and CEO of EuroEyes, said at a lease signing ceremony on Thursday. Early Bright Group, which is owned by billionaire Francis Choi Chee-ming, is EuroEyes’ landlord.

“It’s quite new that a clinic will go into a retail street … We are trying not to hide on the 26th floor, but we wish for a form of visibility and not to create a hospital-like atmosphere,” Jorgensen said. He declined to disclose how much the group will be forking out in monthly rent for the clinic, which includes 2,000 sq ft of space on the ground floor and 5,188 sq ft on the third floor.

“We took the chance, as we think it’s a good time right now,” Jørgensen said. “I would never have got such a location three years ago. It would not have been within our budget.”

The space on Russell Street, frequently ranked as the world’s most expensive retail street by rental values, will see the group bringing its laser eye and lens surgery services to Hongkongers and tourists from mainland China.

With tourism rebounding in Hong Kong since the start of this year, real estate consultancy CBRE said it expected the return of tourists to boost consumption and inject new momentum into the city’s retail market, according to a report released on Thursday.

Mainland tourists have made up 80 per cent of all visitors to Hong Kong since China’s borders reopened, similar to pre-pandemic levels. “Mainland Chinese tourists’ changing spending habits will trigger stronger demand for necessities and healthcare goods like medicine, cosmetics and beauty products … Recent months have seen retailers start to re-establish their presence on high streets in core districts,” the report said.

EuroEyes listed in Hong Kong in 2019. It established its first clinic in Shanghai in 2012 and now operates in seven Chinese cities. Its China operations accounted for 16 per cent of the group’s total revenue in 2022.

Despite the pandemic, which caused the group’s sales in China to fall by more than 30 per cent last year, Jørgensen remains optimistic about the demand for eye surgery in the region, as vast proportions of the population struggle with myopia or presbyopia.

“The mood of patients has also changed,” he said. “People want to invest in themselves and invest in healthcare. We are very confident in China right now.”
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