Saturday, 28 May 2011

Changing Spaces

Shanghai Tang will soon vacate Pedder Building
Note: HK Fashion Geek has pointed out my mistake -- it should be Abercrombie & Fitch not American Eagle Outfitters. 

Shanghai Tang has been always associated with the Pedder Building, across from The Landmark in Central.

It was the flagship shop for the brand David Tang started and is now run by a Swiss conglomerate.

But in the next few months, the quirky and stylish Chinoiserie store will be replaced by Abercrombie & Fitch.

Yep -- A&F has landed in Hong Kong.

The American fashion outlet will pay a whopping HK$7 million ($899,639) per month for the 25,000 square feet store, more than twice what Shanghai Tang is paying now.

Abercrombie better hope it can sell a lot of T-shirts.

However Shanghai Tang isn't the only tenant to be kicked out of Pedder Building, which was formerly the headquarters for Jebsen & Co.

This afternoon I went upstairs to the other floors that usually sell brand name samples, gently used handbags and shoes, cashmere sweaters and the like at bargain prices.

But I was surprised to see more shops closed down or having removal sales.

Then I went to a small boutique that I have gone to a few times before and that's when they told me that the tenants in the first and second floors had to go.

"I thought it was just Shanghai Tang that had to leave," I said to the two sales staff.

"No, we have to leave too. That's why many shops have sales. The ones having removal sales have not found another shop space. The ones who don't have discounts have another place to go to," one explained.

They said shops on the first and second floors had to vacate, including China Tee Club, a quaint, old fashioned space complete with ceiling fans and chirping birds for people to enjoy lunch, dinner and afternoon tea has to go.

Apparently the mass exodus was ordered by the landlord, though shops on the third floor and upwards are still safe.

I was sad and shocked to hear this, now wondering where the next best place was to find these kinds of high-quality clothing at inexpensive prices. Which probably explains why I bought three outfits -- each half price.

"Come back again next week because we'll have new stock again," the staff suggested, saying they would still be there for another two weeks or so.

"But what about you? What are you going to do?" I asked one young woman.

"I need to help my boss sort out this store first and once that's done I'll look for another job," she said, sounding pragmatic.

Greedy landlords are hiking up rents and what's worse is they can find a new tenant willing to pay the new outrageous amount.

Pretty soon Hong Kong will only be for the uber rich while the rest of us will be moving from shoe box-sized flats to ones the size of match boxes.

And the Hong Kong government still won't admit there is a yawning gap between the rich and the poor...


  1. I'm pretty sure it's Abercrombie that's coming not American Eagle.. The Eagle just opened in Harbour City though