HONG KONG (Reuters) - More retail property in Hong Kong will be left vacant in the second half of the year as large global fashion and luxury brands consolidate their stores or leave the city, property consultancy CBRE said on Wednesday.
The property consultancy said overall vacancy rate in the tier-1 streets climbed to 13.5% in the first six months, a four-year high, while high street rents dropped 15.2%. It expected rents to decline another 5-10% in the rest of the year.
Hong Kong’s retail sales slumped 32.8% in may from a year earlier, falling for the 16th consecutive month as the coronavirus pandemic and anti-government protests slammed the brakes on tourism and spending in the city.
British high street retailer Topshop is closing its last shop in the financial city, the South China Morning Post reported on Wednesday. U.S. fashion brands Victoria’s Secret and Gap have also decided to close respectively their only shop and most of the shops in the last few weeks.
“Hong Kong is still a strategic location for the big international groups...when rents fall low and tourists are back in the future, they wouldn’t mind coming back to develop in Hong Kong again,” said Lawrence Wan, a senior director of CBRE Hong Kong.
The closures were mainly due to broader external economic reasons back home for the international brands, Wan said, adding that falling rents have on the other hand attracted some new businesses and expansion in Hong Kong.
Food and beverage companies are more active in the retail space, Wan said, citing Japanese restaurant brands Don Don Donki and Sushiro as examples of new entries in the past year.
Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Kim Coghill