Brand-name shops ride high on fears of scams

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 May, 2007, 12:00am

The fake-goods scandal has proved a boon for upmarket brand-name shops and chain stores, with shoppers prepared to pay for reputation and quality during the 'golden week' holiday.

Brand-name shops in Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, were crowded yesterday with mainlanders making the most of time as the week-long holiday drew to a close.

About 115,236 visitors had left the city through the Lo Wu checkpoint by 10pm, according to the Immigration Department.

Business was so brisk in Tsim Sha Tsui that railings were put up for shoppers to queue outside a Louis Vuitton outlet. About a dozen visitors waited to enter the packed store.

With handfuls of shopping bags, mainland visitors moved from one brand-name store to another.

Miss Zhu from Shandong said she spent about HK$7,000 buying leather bags. 'I only shop at big stores to avoid being cheated. I heard about a CCTV news report that some stores were selling fake goods to mainland tourists,' she said. 'I have been to Hong Kong a few times and I never buy things at small shops.'

Mr Xu, a tourist from Shanghai, said Hong Kong remained a shopping paradise despite the negative reports. 'I come here to buy brand-name products because they are cheaper than on the mainland due to the lower tax. I have been here three times; I will still come to buy some clothes, shoes and accessories.'

Mr Xu said he never joined package tours because he wanted to enjoy the freedom of shopping at top-brand shops. 'If we join a tour group, guides will just take us to those designated shops that give them high commission on sales,' he said. 'They never take shoppers to brand-name shops as they don't receive commission for every purchase.'

Leung Wai-man, assistant regional manager of a Chow Tai Fook jewellery shop in Central, said sales were up 20 to 30 per cent for the week and about 5 per cent better than last year's Labour Day 'golden week'.

'Most of our customers are individual travellers and some have come to Hong Kong more than once. They like buying gold products and some cheap diamond accessories,' he said.

James Tang Cheung-sing, vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Department Stores and Commercial Staff General Union, said business had been good over the past week.