Opening hours may be extended at The Landmark

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 December, 2008, 12:00am

Shopping hours at The Landmark in Central may be extended, Hongkong Land's head of retail properties, David Martin, says.

The move, which is under review by the developer, was being considered as people had started to stay later in the evening at the retail and commercial complex following the opening of the Landmark Mandarin Oriental hotel there three years ago, he said.

But any extension of hours would come with the retail trade facing an uncertain outlook amid the economic downturn.

'Retailers here tend to close at 7pm or 7.30pm. If you went to Pacific Place, they're open until 9pm,' Mr Martin said.

'I think what has happened is that that change is happening. Maybe it's not completely there yet, but I think it's something that we see and may be something we develop in future.'

Hongkong Land developed much of the upmarket Central shopping district. Like most commercial landlords, it is looking to the key Christmas sales season to help it gauge the outlook for consumer spending and commercial rents next year.

The company has spent more on its Christmas decorations and promotions this year than it did last year.

Mr Martin deferred questions about possible retail rent reductions until the company's earnings announcement next month.

'Clearly conditions are challenging at the moment, there's no question about that,' he said.

'Things have happened very, very quickly and I think people are still judging the impact. Many of our tenants still haven't really quite decided what the true impact is going to be when we look back.'

The Hong Kong FootFall Index, compiled by global information services company Experian, showed the number of shoppers fell by 0.5 per cent during the week starting November 17 from a week earlier. Year on year, shopper numbers rose 7.2 per cent. The data covers most major shopping centres in the city, including Kowloon and the New Territories.

Based in Ireland, Experian specialises in tracking retail traffic to help marketers make key decisions.

Yannick Kennel, the general manager of FootFall at Experian Asia Pacific, said second- and third-tier shopping centres were benefiting more than premium malls from changing spending patterns and increasingly price-conscious consumers. 'People are still out there in numbers and are spending quite a bit,' Mr Kennel said.

'They are going to the same brands but are buying cheaper items that may be more value for money. High-end retailers are suffering much more than lower-end ones.'