Hong Kong Protests Force Louis Vuitton To Close A Store; Will More Follow Its Lead?
Hong Kong protests have put retailers under siege. Now luxury leader LVMH's Louis Vuitton is closing a store in a prime shopping district and other luxury brands are likely to follow suit.
Ever since anti-government protestors took to the streets of Hong Kong in June of last year, luxury brands have taken a wait-and-see approach regarding business there. A planned Chanel store on Fashion Walk in the Causeway Bay district was put on hold, as was the opening of LVMH’s Rimowa luggage store in the same district.
But now Hong Kong retailers are under siege, as protests are increasingly targeting shopping areas and spreading to weekdays after the early days when protests were limited to weekends. The Causeway Bay shopping district has been particularly hard hit, with over 100 shops out of a reported 1,087 in the district closed by August 2019.
Henry Jong, senior regional sales director of realty agency Centaline Commercial, called Causeway Bay “a battlefield,” so its no surprise that Prada announced in August it would close its Russell Street store in the district when its lease expires in June 2020.
And now Louis Vuitton is pulling out as well, shutting its Times Square Mall store. Both Prada and Louis Vuitton attributed the closings to intractable landlords that refused to make rent concessions in light of rapidly falling sales.
Louis Vuitton’s seven other Hong Kong stores will remain open, and it plans a new store opening in the Hong Kong International Airport in 2021, but this closure will still hurt. Some 6% of LVMH’s €46.8 billion revenues in 2018 were made there.
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