FASHION distributor Shiamas, which runs a string of boutiques in town, is pulling three shops out of The Galleria at Number 9 Queen's Road Central, complaining about a lack of shoppers and exorbitant rents. A company spokesman said Trussardi, Bogner and Alexandre de Paris would vacate the luxurious centre by the end of September and relocate in the nearby Landmark or at the Ocean Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui. An inspection yesterday revealed that both Trussardi and Bogner already have left The Galleria. Shiamas is the latest in a long line of retailers to move from the centre's second floor. Up to 15 have gone. Where once there were 20 shops on the second floor, only six remain in business. An Italian restaurant on the third floor also closed a long time ago. The Joyce store is located on the first floor and there are a number of boutiques on the ground floor. The Shiamas spokesman said poor pedestrian flow was one of the many reasons the company decided to move out. In the past, company managing director Roland Macek had complained that The Galleria's mainland owners told him they wanted a 200-300 per cent increase in rent. 'We have found another location which will be more ideal for our customers,' said a company spokesman. Another retailer on the second floor of The Galleria complained the owners had never followed a marketing strategy to attract shoppers to the complex. 'I have been trying for the last six months to get some plan out of them,' said the disgruntled owner of a shop which specialises in glass handicrafts. 'But still no answer.' In an effort to turn the luxury precinct's flagging fortunes around, the mainland owners promised not to sell the retail podium and they have appointed Jones Lang Wootton (JLW) as the sole leasing agent. Edmund Hsu, director of JLW's retail division, said filling up the vacant shops should not pose too much of a problem. 'Even though the retail market has been softening, we believe that the demand for retail space in Central is still escalating, especially for upmarket labels,' he said. 'Numerous' fashion-related retailers had expressed an interest in locating at Number 9 Queen's Road Central, but Mr Hsu said JLW had to be 'very selective'. Michelle Woo, also from the JLW retail division, said the company was aiming to attract high-end chain stores. She said she wanted the retail podium to become a continuation of the nearby Landmark. 'The Landmark attracts a more traditional crowd,' she said. 'On the second floor we would like to get some new names. More trendy, popular brands. We would like them to be more affordable.' Rodney Miles, chairman of the Hong Kong Retail Management Association (HKRMA) said assurances from the owners that they had no intention of selling the retail podium, and a JLW marketing campaign, did not address the real issues for the complex. 'The problem is that it is not a big enough centre on its own,' he said. 'There are too many centres like this in Hong Kong. They don't have the draw of tenants.' During an economic boom, centres such as Number 9 Queen's Road Central could survive, he said. But now, with the economic downturn, shops that were just out of Central's main areas would not do very well. Even more ludicrous to Mr Miles was the rent some of the shops on the second floor were paying. 'They should be paying $20-$30 per sq ft not the $200-$300 per sq ft they are paying now,' he said.