HMV faces eviction from two Hong Kong stores as landlords sue for unpaid rents and charges
- Music retailer is being pursued for rents owed at its flagship store in Causeway Bay and its concept store in Central
- It follows an eviction notice for unpaid rents at the company’s Telford Plaza store in Kowloon Bay
Two Hong Kong HMV stores, including the flagship outlet in Causeway Bay, are facing eviction after failing to pay rents, service charges and rates to the tune of HK$4.86 million (US$621,000), according to court documents.
Two landlords, Ever Light and Pridemax, took HMV Marketing to the High Court last Friday after the music retailer was said to have persistently failed, refused or delayed to make payment for its flagship store in Causeway Bay and concept store in Central.
The legal action came just two weeks after the MTR Corporation sued HMV for HK$273,300 in unpaid rent and other fees and demanded the company deliver vacant possession of its store at Telford Plaza shopping centre, owned by the railway operator.
According to its website, HMV has seven outlets across Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.
Its flagship store in Causeway Bay occupies four storeys at Pearl City on Paterson Street, and combines the retail space with a cafe.
The premises were leased from Ever Light for four years from July 2015 to July 2019, at a monthly rent of HK$1.59 million for the first two years and HK$1.72 million for the remainder of the lease.
The company’s concept store at Manning House on Queen’s Road Central was leased from Pridemax for a term of six years from September 2016 to August 2022 for a monthly rent of HK$1 million over the first three years.
Court papers made available on Monday show these rental payments and other fees are to be made in advance on the first day of each calendar month and arrears in excess of 14 days would allow the landlords to re-enter the premises.
As of November 1, HMV was said to owe HK$3.42 million and HK$1.44 million respectively for its outlets in Causeway Bay and Central.
“In the circumstances, the defendant is now in wrongful possession of the premises and is unlawfully remaining there,” solicitors firm Deacons said on behalf of the plaintiffs.
They are now demanding HMV vacate the two outlets and pay the outstanding sums plus interest and damages.
Established in London in 1921, HMV almost went bankrupt in Britain five years ago and had to suspend trading in its shares and call in an administrator to restructure its business, as it suffered stiff competition from online retailers.
Its Hong Kong and Singapore businesses were bought out in 2013 by AID Partners Capital, a private equity firm directed by local businessman Kelvin Wu King-shiu.
Three years later, AID sold the Hong Kong arm to film production company China 3D Digital Entertainment, which is part of a Hong Kong-listed entertainment empire co-directed by businessman Stephen Shiu Jnr.