Hong Kong courts

Italian lingerie brand La Perla faces eviction from flagship Hong Kong store over HK$9.21 million rent dispute

Landlord for Causeway Bay property files High Court writ claiming firm has failed to pay rent for two months

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 February, 2018, 6:43pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 February, 2018, 10:14pm

Italian luxury lingerie brand La Perla faces eviction from its flagship Hong Kong site in Causeway Bay after its landlord claimed the firm failed to pay HK$9.21 million (US$1.18 million) in rent despite repeated demands.

Solicitors for Century Creations said in a writ filed to the High Court last week that La Perla Far East had failed to pay rent for two months on the five-storey store opposite Times Square on Russell Street. The company also paid December’s rent late, the landlord said.

La Perla’s financial guarantor, SMS Finance SA, has also become embroiled in the legal action as it was asked to pay a HK$31 million deposit in light of La Perla allegedly not observing its obligations.

The Italian fashion house has yet to respond to requests for comment. It runs four branches in high-end shopping districts in Hong Kong, offering luxury lingerie, night gowns and silk robes for up to HK$24,300 a piece.

La Perla’s Chiara Scaglia gears up for deeper China push with new HK store

The brand gained a significantly higher profile in January 2016 when it took up residence in the 8,000 sq ft Causeway Bay store following a tenancy agreement with Century Creations signed on November 8, 2014.

It was agreed that La Perla would pay a monthly rent of HK$7.5 million over a five-year term from September 2015 to September 2020. The two parties later agreed to a reduced monthly rent of HK$5 million from April 2017 to April 2018.

But La Perla allegedly defaulted on the rent for December last year and January this year, despite having received a debit note and reminders from the landlord’s agent, Emperor Property Management.

Only after the landlord’s solicitors wrote to La Perla did the company pay the December rent, the writ said.

But the January rent remained unpaid and the landlord claimed it had not received any February payment either as of Thursday, when the legal action was filed.

“By the issue and service of the proceedings herein, the lease as held by [La Perla Far East Limited] is hereby forfeited,” the writ said.

The landlord is now demanding vacant possession of the premises plus HK$9.21 million in rent on top of a deposit, government rates, interest and damages for defaulted payments.