SHOPS

Most of Trendyland children’s stores close their doors in Hong Kong without notice

Thirteen of chain’s 16 outlets were closed on Tuesday, with only three franchisees still operating

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 August, 2017, 5:02pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 August, 2017, 5:28pm

Customers holding gift vouchers from a 16-shop chain specialising in children’s items were left fuming after they realised that most of its outlets had closed without notice.

Thirteen of Trendyland’s 16 outlets were closed on Tuesday, with only three franchisees still operating.

Some of the 20-year-old chain’s outlets had been vacated, with their shelves standing empty. Others had their shopfronts covered with paper.

Telephone lines for some stores were no longer in service, while calls to other outlets went unanswered.

Reporters also found that the chain’s office in Kwun Tong had been vacated.

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A woman bought HK$500 worth of vouchers at the outlet in Telford Plaza in Kowloon Bay in October. The vouchers stated that they were valid for two years at all outlets except sale bazaars and consignment counters in department stores.

But she told journalists the chain limited their use to just five outlets in May and they were no longer valid in four franchise stores.

She said the restriction annoyed parents, with some suggesting the chain might have broken the law.

She said she did not realise the outlet in Telford Plaza had been closed since May until she planned a shopping trip for items for her daughter on Friday. She later found the outlets in Diamond Hill and Tsing Yi were also closed.

A Tseung Kwan O customer who bought more than HK$1,000 in vouchers several years ago told the Post he was lucky that he had used up all of them on purchases for his son.

“I didn’t have a feeling that they were in trouble. They offered a rare ‘buy one, get one free’ for some items recently.”

In June, users of a popular online forum said the Tsuen Wan outlet had closed, while others reported the Tsing Yi outlet had been clearing stock and the chain’s website was no longer being updated.

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A spokesman for the customs department said it was learning more about the case and would follow up if needed. Consumers were advised to use its 24-hour complaint hotline on 2545 6182 if they found suspicious activities relating to the Trade Descriptions Ordinance.

A Consumer Council spokesman said the watchdog had received requests for help over the shop closures. He said the council could not disclose the number of requests or other details as the chain had not closed all its shops in the city.

Professor Terence Chong Tai-leung, an economist at Chinese University, said Trendyland may have struggled as more consumers turned to online shopping.

“The problem is that [the chain is not carrying] its own brand of products,” Chong said. “It’s just ordering products from other manufacturers. Nowadays people can do the ordering themselves online.”