Mall change as men outshop the women

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 June, 2011, 12:00am


While it's not news that men enjoy a manicure, an eyebrow wax and a good trawl through the clothes racks nearly as much as the girls, now some retailers are seeing their big sales increases come courtesy of the male shopper.

Sensing a shift in the balance, The Landmark mall in Central, has remodelled its entire basement as a shopping space for men. Owner Hongkong Land has signed on 20 tenants to fill the 60,000 square foot area, named Landmark Men.

According to David Martin, head of retail for Hongkong Land, more than 50 per cent of mainland shoppers in Hong Kong are men.

He added: 'The feedback from the big luxury brands was that menswear and accessories were becoming more important and they saw growth levels in excess of levels in women's wear.'

One of its flagship stores, Gentlemen's Tonic, opens today - Father's Day.

'They are a brand of men's grooming which originated in London and this is their first time in Asia,' said Martin. 'Guys are now not afraid to say to people that they use skincare products and occasionally go for treatments.'

The salon offers haircuts, massages, beard design, eyebrow shaping, eyelash tinting, waxing and facials.

'Men are spending more on themselves, on clothes and grooming. Skincare has grown very strongly so we were definitely aware of that trend,' Martin said.

However, finding suitable retailers was not easy.

'It's harder than it might seem to get unique stuff because a lot of Western brands are a bit reluctant to expand outside their home market,' Martin said.

'In the last few months, people in the industry have found out about the concept so now we are getting a lot of unsolicited inquiries.'

Existing Landmark retailers such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton have embraced the concept, soon to be joined by the likes of Valentino, Etro and Neil Barrett.

There will also be a bookstore tailored to men's reading tastes such as design, non-fiction and cookery because 'it's stuff men like to do in their spare time', Martin said.

Last week English tailor Gieves & Hawkes announced plans to add 10 stores to its existing network of 90 on the mainland and to expand its range to include casual apparel - a smart move considering the different tastes of male shoppers across the border.

'It's quite rare to see a mainland millionaire in a suit. They wear more casual clothes, but it high-end like Loro Piana or Ermenegildo Zegna,' Martin said.

'They are far less corporate than a Hong Kong or New York customer who tends to buy suits.'

Olivier Bonnefoy, ex-banker and founder of Gentlemen's Tonic, said the expansion to Hong Kong was in line with the city's obsession with beauty. 'Everyone is very image-conscious, which is great,' he said.

Demand for male grooming and beauty treatments has increased in recent years with salons such as Dandy House and Mence opening branches.

A spokesman for Dandy House said body slimming was one of its most popular treatments while at Mence, the facials were popular.

University student Ray Fu Yat-sing, 24, is a prime example of the big market out there.

'I moisturise everyday and I use a mask once a week,' he said. 'I started a few years ago because I recognised wrinkles on my face.

'On special occasions, I wear make-up, which includes a base, concealer and eyebrow liner.'

Go for the works

Body slimming sessions at Dandy House from HK$1,380 a session.

Permanent hair removal for the face, chest, arms and legs at Dandy House, HK$710 for a 30-minute session.

Nourishing and moisturising 90-minute facial at Mence, HK$600.

Body massage at Mence, HK$380 per hour.

Body firming and shaping with ultrasound and massage therapy at Firma Clinic, HK$6,000 a session.

Depigmentation treatment to get rid of skin blemishes at Firma Clinic, HK$10,000 per treatment.

Kiehl's multi-purpose facial formula for men, HK$210.

American Crew daily moisturising shampoo for men, HK$155.

Aveda Men pure-formance liquid pomade, HK$245.

Anthony Logistics for Men facial moisturiser, HK$285.