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Harvey Nichols opening set

The soft opening of Asia's first Harvey Nichols luxury department store, at the Landmark in Central, is planned for the second week of next month.

Dickson Poon, the chairman of Dickson Concepts (International), which holds the exclusive rights to develop the Harvey Nichols brand in Hong Kong, said the opening of the $100 million store was about a month ahead of schedule.

'We hope this store will set a new benchmark in Asia's luxury retailing industry,' he said.

Mr Poon said the retail industry would benefit from an expected tourist influx when Disneyland opens next month.

He identified the mainland as a possible destination for a second Harvey Nichols store in Asia.

'I am planning to expand Harvey Nichols in Asia after it establishes a strong foothold in Hong Kong, and the mainland will definitely be on our list,' he said.

Without giving the time table and the operation format, he said mainlanders' spending ability would play a crucial role for the expansion pace of Harvey Nichols in China.

Mr Poon said Dickson Concepts would open a 100,000-square-foot Seibu store in Chengdu, Sichuan province, by March next year.

'We will actively look for retail spaces of between 20,000 sqft and 100,000 sqft for the opening of more lifestyle stores in the mainland,' he said.

He was optimistic about the prospect of the retail market in Hong Kong, saying Dickson's sales had registered double-digit growth since April.

Commenting on Seibu's closure at Windsor House in Causeway Bay in July next year, Mr Poon said the company was considering finding a replacement site in the same district, one of the busiest shopping areas.

He was confident of having a store in the district, despite key shopping centres being almost fully let. 'It is difficult but that does not mean impossible.'

Mr Poon said Dickson Concepts had opened a 60,000 sqft Harvey Nichols store at the Landmark despite the cost of its prime location.

The company has cash on hand of $600 million for future expansion.