Landmark targets men to keep its style crown

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 May, 2011, 12:00am


An entire level of The Landmark in Central is being converted into a shopping destination tailored specifically for men in a bid by owner Hongkong Land to keep the centre's status as one of the city's leading upmarket malls.

Ninety per cent of the old tenants in the basement level will be replaced in the makeover.

The 60,000 square foot retail space will not just offer fashion, but will include outlets offering a variety of male-focused merchandise.

'Men are excited by having a variety of shopping options available, not just fashion,' Hongkong Land retail department head David Martin said.

But luxury branded men's fashion will still be prominent in the new tenant mix. The basement will also have a bookstore tailored to men's interests, an audio and electronic outlet, an expresso bar and a 'grooming' outlet that will offer hair cuts as well as skin-care treatments.

'We've already made 10 tenant changes since the end of last year. We want to create a unique destination in Hong Kong,' Martin said.

'Retail rents in the basement have grown slightly but we are aware that whenever you change concepts, tenants need a little time to grow their business,' he said.

Previously, the tenants in the basement were mixed, offering merchandise targeted at both men and women and including the most luxurious brands and middle-priced brands. The makeover has provided an opportunity for the landlord to create a new shopping environment.

'We run regular focus groups and do surveys and have discussions with our tenants and recognised that male shoppers are spending more on clothes, grooming and lifestyle,' Martin said.

The proportion of men among visitors to the mall, particularly among mainland visitors was also quite high, he added - not surprising since Central is the city's core business district and has a high concentration of well-paid male executives.

'We felt there was an opportunity to create a men's shopping destination in Central. And we identified the basement of The Landmark as the area in which we could do that,' Martin said.

Hongkong Land is facing increasing competition in the retail market, as many landlords are expanding into the high-end market following the increase of high-income mainland visitors in recent years.

'We worked closely with brands. They offer different collections in our malls. We also host many events such as Boutique Boulevard,' Martin said.

Boutique Boulevard is a shopping fair running from Friday to Sunday. Seventy branded suppliers in Hongkong Land's retail portfolio will support the fair by preparing special displays and offering workshops and lucky draws to lure shoppers.

Martin said he was optimistic about the outlook for the retail property market due to the strong growth in visitor numbers to Hong Kong.

'On the supply side, there aren't any new big shopping malls coming up. And many international brands are more willing to invest in Asia and in the mainland in particular,' he said.

'The market in Hong Kong is mature and will benefit from the continuous growth on the mainland. Many brands are talking about expansion. We see a healthy demand for space in Central.'

Mainland visitors have become the key source of retail sales growth and Martin said they represented about 30 per cent of the shoppers at Hongkong Land's retail outlets.

'The mainland customers that we are targeting are the top 20 per cent [in terms of incomes]. They are increasingly showing the same shopping and lifestyle characteristics as our Hong Kong customers,'' he said.

'They travel internationally. They have large disposable incomes and they are sophisticated and knowledgeable about fashion. They are looking for big international brands. They are also looking for something new.'

Hongkong Land therefore aims to offer its shoppers international brands that are not distributed widely in Hong Kong or the mainland.

'We also provide the added attractions of Central such as food and beverage outlets and hotels. It is not only about shopping,' Martin said.