Beauty and fitness centre Shape Easy 22 says soaring rents forced it to close its three of its outlets this week.
The centre posted notices on the doors of its Mong Kok and Causeway Bay branches saying its leases had ended and would not be renewed because of rent rises of 80 per cent. The notices said the company was searching for new premises.
A check with the Land Registry, however, showed the lease of its Tsuen Wan branch will expire only on February 28. The rent of that place is HK$84,322 per month.
The registry does not have the records of Shape Easy 22's leases at the other two venues.
At the flagship centre in the Langham Place office building, the company's notice said the asking rent was 80 per cent more than it was now paying, so it would halt operations while looking for a new location, the South China Morning Post found during a visit yesterday.
At the outlet at the 1 Hysan Avenue office building, a notice said the company had been "forced" to move out because of higher rent and would seek another location in Causeway Bay to continue its services.
The glass doors and windows of both shops were covered with white paper. No customers were seen visiting either place.
The Post called the hotline and store contact numbers, but no one picked up the phone.
Shape Easy 22 was founded in 2004 and is owned by offshore company Best Concept Associates, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands, according to business registry data.
Nelson Ip Sai-hung, founding chairman of the Federation of Beauty Industry, said the organisation had little information about the chain store, but he believed its financial circumstances had little to do with the scandal involving the DR chain, in which one woman died after receiving blood transfusion therapy.
"The industry's business is affected by the scandal, but the impact is mostly on those providing medical services," he said.
The Consumer Council said it would not comment on individual cases, or before it could confirm the closure of the outlets under Shape Easy 22.