Hongkong Land, the largest landlord in Central, is rebranding its four major shopping properties under the "Landmark" brand, in anticipation of further increases in retail rents.
Under the plan, "Landmark" will no longer be limited to the shopping atrium of The Landmark - a retail, office and hotel development in Hong Kong's core business area - but also include the retail floors at Prince's Building, Chater House and Alexandra House.
The four properties - Landmark, Landmark Prince's, Landmark Chater and Landmark Alexandra - offer a total of 208 shops and restaurants.
"We are reinforcing the positioning of our retail experience," said Raymond Chow Ming-joe, executive director at Hongkong Land. "It's not because of what's happening in the retail market. It's an evolution of what we are doing over the years."
The company wants to expand its reach and strengthen its prime position in the high-end retail segment. Hongkong Land recorded a 19 per cent growth in retail rents from its portfolio in the city for the six months to June 30. The company's average monthly retail rent was HK$197.40 per square foot during the period.
Although some market analysts believe retail rents in Hong Kong have peaked, Chow sees room for more growth in Central. "I still believe the trend is very strong. We focus on key customers in local, mainland and international markets. We are in a unique place to have strong growth," he said.
He said the retail spending of local and mainland shoppers remains strong. In the office market, he expects a positive outlook. "The new office supply will be very limited in the next few years and demand still strong," he said.
Many see Shanghai's new free-trade zone creating direct competition for Hong Kong. But Chow is upbeat about the office market over the long term.
"International companies can have two centres in Shanghai and Hong Kong," he said.
In the first half, the average rent of the company's Hong Kong office portfolio reached HK$96.60 per square foot, 8.17 per cent higher than a year ago. The vacancy rate was 5.6 per cent.