Japan's Piago store to enter HK market in first overseas venture

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 April, 2010, 12:00am

Japanese chain store Piago, a sister brand of Apita under the UNY (HK), will open its first overseas shop in Telford Plaza, Kowloon Bay, early next year.

The retailer will be on floors L4 and L5 in phase two of the shopping mall where Swedish furniture giant Ikea is located at present. Ikea will move to the neighbouring MegaBox shopping mall around July.

Candy Ng Chui-lok, chief shopping centre manager of MTR Corp, the operator of Telford Plaza, said Piago had signed a six-year tenancy deal and that the rent had increased by as much as 15 per cent compared with that for Ikea.

'We expect the new store will boost our traffic by 15 per cent and bring us a 20 per cent rise in turnover,' Ng said.

She added that in past surveys many shoppers had indicated they would like to have a big Japanese store at Telford Plaza.

The new store will include a supermarket on the lower floor to sell Japanese food items such as sushi, wine, yogurt and noodles. A department store will be set up on the upper floor, offering household products from furniture and cookware to home appliances.

A small food court of four restaurants will also be available.

Toshio Nakamura, the managing director of UNY (HK), said more than 60 per cent of the household and food products would be imported from Japan.

'The customers we mainly target are young families and office executives aged between 20 and 40,' he added.

Asked about the differences between the company's two store brands in Hong Kong, Nakamura said the Piago outlet was much smaller than Apita and would not sell apparel.

The first overseas Apita store was opened in Taikoo Shing in 2007 with an area of 180,000 square feet. The second one in Hong Kong is expected to open in the Lok Fu Shopping Centre managed by the Link Management this year.

Ng said the MTR would be responsible for structural renovation of the two floors, expected to cost between HK$50 million and HK$80 million. UNY will pay for the interior design and decoration.

She also said space on L3, which is occupied by Ikea now, will be leased to another Japanese retailer. Details would be announced next month.

'We have plans to adjust the tenant mix in phase two and turn it into a modern place featuring trendy goods from Japan,' she added.

Hong Kong consumers have long been known as fans of Japanese products. Aeon Stores, a major Japanese retailer, runs five department stores and five supermarkets across the city. Another Japanese department store operator, Yata, has had a store in New Town Plaza in Sha Tin for two decades.