Nostalgia, bargains drive last-minute rush to Kalm's

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 February, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 February, 2005, 12:00am

Hundreds of people bid farewell to one of Hong Kong's oldest gift stores yesterday in Kowloon Bay.

Kalm's, which has been operating in the city for more than two decades, closed its last branch at Telford Plaza yesterday.

Most of the products, such as picture frames, toys, greeting cards and jewellery, were marked down by up to 70 per cent, but the store's signature items, such Sanrio products as Hello Kitty and Forever Friends, were gone before the sale.

Jacky Wong Cheuk-wai, 26, a computer programmer who visited the shop yesterday, said he was particularly interested in Hello Kitty products and therefore left disappointed.

'My girlfriend loves Hello Kitty and I always buy gifts here, but they are all gone,' he said. 'I'm very surprised that such a large company is shutting down because the economy is back on the track. I'll have to go to department stores for Hello Kitty items.'

Rebecca Ma Yin-chun, who lives near Telford Plaza, bought a series of gift items such as cards and picture frames for about $110. 'I feel a little sad because this shop is one of the major shopping spots.'

Secondary school student Beanco Yu Shun-yan, 17, said she was upset at the store's closure because she used to spend a lot of time at the store. 'I used to buy a lot of KeroKeroKeroppi stationery here. I grew up with this shop,' she said.

'Lots of customers are very emotional,' a store spokeswoman said. 'We are closing the store at 9.30pm tonight but we will pull the gate in slow motion. We will have a video recorder to film this moment.'