Twelve Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) shopping centres, including the flagship APM mall in Kwun Tong, saw record sales of HK$12.9 billion last year, driven by mainland tourists.
Maureen Fung Sai-yin, the general manager of SHKP's leasing department, said this was a 30 per cent rise on the year before.
'Besides an influx of cashed-up mainland shoppers, the government handout of HK$6,000 boosted local consumption. We expect our retail rents to grow at a double-digit pace this year,' she said.
To sharpen the company's competitiveness, this year's promotion budget for the 12 malls would be increased 20 per cent to HK$130 million, 40 per cent of which would be directed to attracting mainland shoppers and providing incentives for big spenders.
Other than APM, the 12 malls include Tai Po Mega Mall in Tai Po, The Sun Arcade in Tsim Sha Tsui and Yuen Long Plaza.
Fung said sales attributed to mainland shoppers varied.
'Mainland shoppers account for 90 per cent of sales for Tai Po Mega Mall during high seasons such as the Golden Week holidays and 70 per cent at other times,' she said. 'But mainlanders contribute just 30 to 40 per cent of sales at Yuen Long Plaza. But mainland shoppers will remain our main focus in future.'
Fung was upbeat on the retail market, saying 2012 would be another 'golden year'. 'The group owns more than 100 shopping malls in different places in Hong Kong and that allows us a better understanding about the industry,' she said.
Fung believes the second financial centre encompassing Kwun Tong, Kowloon Bay and the Kai Tak airport site will enhance the city's position as a shopping destination.
The proposal was unveiled by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen in October and aims to provide more office space and maintain the city's competitiveness among regional rivals. Outlining his vision for Kowloon East, or the so-called CBD2, Tsang said it could provide 62 million square feet of office space.
To improve the area's infrastructure, the government plans to build a HK$12 billion monorail system with 12 stops connecting Kowloon Bay and Kwun Tong MTR station via Kai Tak. The plan also calls for 33,000 private and public flats on the old airport site and 20 million sqft of space for offices, shops, hotels and a cruise terminal.