Shopping Mall owners are pining their hopes on securing bumper Lunar New Year sales for their retail tenants next month on a range of attractions for shoppers, including a cockatoo that will welcome visitors with a cheerful "kung hei fat choi" and Disney cartoon characters including Mickey Mouse dressed in Chinese costumes.
With bigger budgets and better decorations, mall operators hope to generate an increase of at least 30 per cent on last year's sales.
Sun Hung Kai Properties said it would spend HK$9.9 million on festival decorations and marketing at its APM Mall at Kwun Tong MTR station, while Kerry Properties will spend the same amount at its MegaBox complex in Kowloon Bay. Sino Land has allocated a budget of HK$10 million for its TMT Plaza in Tuen Mun and shopping mall in Olympian City at Olympic Station.
"This year's promotional budget will be the highest since APM Mall opened seven years ago," said Maureen Fung Sau-yim, SHKP leasing department general manager. She expects February sales to be up by as much as 20 per cent from a year ago, to HK$570 million.
The Lunar New Year holidays start on February 10.
Shoppers at APM Mall will be greeted by Pinky, a rose-hued talking cockatoo who has been trained to say "kung hei fat choi," said Fung. The mall will also hold a lucky draw during the month and give away gifts ranging in value from HK$30 to HK$1,000, worth a total of HK$3.9 million.
"We will also arrange to bus in 50 to 70 mainland tourist groups - about 3,500 shoppers - from Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Dongguan to APM," who are expected to contribute between HK$15 million to HK$30 million in sales to the mall, she said.
Fung added that rents would probably rise in the "double-digits" at the mall when leases came up for renewal this year.
Czarina Man Ching-chi, general manager of MegaBox, forecast sales at the mall would be 20 per cent to 30 per cent higher than last year. "Restaurants will be particularly busy during Lunar New Year," she said.
Shoppers at MegaBox will be entertained by Disney characters including Mickey Mouse dressed in Chinese costumes.
Man predicted that mainland tourist spending at MegaBox would increase significantly from it present 2 per cent of total sales when the new Kai Tak cruise terminal opens in April.
Ronnie Chan Yam-ling, leasing department general manager at Sino Group, predicted that the number of shoppers visiting TMT Plaza, a favourite shopping destination for mainland tourists, would increase 25 per cent during the festival season, from a year ago.
"Retailers of electronics, cosmetics, Chinese herbal medicines and dried seafood will see an increase in business by as much as a 70 per as they are popular among mainland shoppers," she said.