Cash coupons aim to whip up trade at new Hong Kong food market

Authorities step in after tenants of facility in Central complain of falling business after move

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 November, 2016, 10:36pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 November, 2016, 10:36pm

The Urban Renewal Authority is giving out cash coupons and presents in an attempt to attract customers to a newly opened Central market.

It acted following complaints of slow business by tenants at the Graham Street market, the first to be completed in a neighbourhood redevelopment project.

Eleven sellers of fresh food, who left their premises on the street last year to make way for the project, have now moved into the market, which provides 12 stalls.

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However, they claim business has suffered. Ho Siu-fung, who has been running his seafood stall on the street for 17 years, said business has fallen by about 40 per cent since the move.

“Owing to the redevelopment, many residents and stall owners have moved away,” Ho said.

“Many people now go to markets in Wan Chai or Sheung Wan ­because there are more things to buy there.”

He said he has had to reduce prices by about 5 per cent in an attempt to attract customers and he hopes promotional activities by the URA may also help.

Edward Chow Kwong-fai, chairman of the URA’s Central and Western District Advisory Committee, said yesterday at the official opening of the market that the URA had offered concessionary rents to tenants to compensate for the inconvenience caused by construction work.

Promotions, including 70,000 HK$10 coupons and 20,000 presents to be distributed before December 7, were expected to be of benefit to more than 70 stalls to the area, Chow said.

The Graham Street project is divided into three sites to be completed in phases. The market site will also include a residential block, to be completed in 2018.

The two adjacent sites will ­include a second residential block, a hotel, an office building and public space, targeted for completion by 2021.