Lane Crawford's schmoozy television advertisements proclaim: 'It's the good life.' Unfortunately for the upmarket retailer's management, it is anything but. The company is not doing well and the management is being blamed by a select group of analysts who follow the stock. Sales are down, they say, and profits have been virtually halved. Sort it out. Fortunately for management, they have a scapegoat. Retail sales in Hong Kong have been in decline ever since the economic slowdown began and for the first time the territory's spenders have been suffering from a feel-bad factor. Lane Crawford - along with many other retail outlets - bore the brunt of the downturn. The management's claim that the company's poor results stem from this slump has credence, but fails to tell the whole story. Lane Crawford's Singapore operation is haemorrhaging cash. It has been a disaster from the moment it moved off the drawing board and on to the street and looks set to lose money for some time to come. Shareholders might ask why the company moved into the middle of super-expensive Singapore just as the government started encouraging shoppers to go to the outskirts. In Hong Kong, Lane Crawford seems to be alienating its target market. Up market consumers - the ones Lane Crawford needs - have succeeded in boosting rival retailer Dickson Concept's profits by 20 per cent. Patently they have been buying Mr Poon's goods instead of Lane Crawford's. It is worth noting, analysts say, that the company generates about $20 million a year in rent at Lane Crawford House. Without that, its results would have been worse still. Lane Crawford Express in Times Square fared badly, being conceptually flawed and badly located, while its launch was ill-timed. Analysts are reaching one conclusion: Lane Crawford has a management problem. Its recent decision bears this out. Until it gets the alleged problem sorted out, expect very little from the share price.