Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Nocturnal Shopping in Causeway Bay

Shopping in Causeway Bay may get even later...
Hong Kong people can be pragmatic -- they do what they have to do to get things done, put food on the table or pay the rent.

And these days those with businesses in Causeway Bay that signed on for outrageous rents last year are trying to make up the difference with the economic downturn by keeping their business open longer hours.

While Taiwanese book store Eslite in the new mall Hysan Place had already planned to be open until 2am from Thursdays to Sundays and the eve of public holidays, it still closes at 11pm from Monday to Wednesday.

Nearby is the flashy Forever 21 that has a giant screen above the store presenting bizarre vignettes of young women discovering funky fashion styles. The retailer is probably feeling the pain after agreeing to rent the space for HK$11 million a month. It now opens until 2am seven days a week.

And while Wellcome supermarket in Causeway Bay is open 24 hours and has customers in the wee hours, the upscale supermarket Jason in Hysan Place is open everyday until midnight.

This indicates people in Causeway Bay are night owl shoppers or they know this is the place to go for late-night shopping.

And now developers are looking into building "Ginza-style" commercial projects where stores and services can be open for 24 hours.

Already The Sharp, which is being built at 11-13 Russell Street and apparently already has the reputation of having the most expensive retail strip in the world, is going to have round-the-clock management service and even air conditioning can be controlled individually by tenants.

"The building design is suitable for occupiers to stay open for 24 hours a day if they wish," said a spokeswoman.

The space in The Sharp is already selling at HK$30,000 ($3,870) per square foot, or starting at HK$48 million.

If these Ginza-style places really do take off with people coming in at all hours of the day, then we really have become a society that doesn't rest, or our long working hours prevent us from doing or buying things in the evenings.

I would also feel sorry for the employees who would have to work these crazy hours. I've done the early morning and overnight shifts myself and know how much it screws up people's schedules, sleep patterns and overall health.

Some would argue that in the current economic situation, having a job is better than none at all, and others would say the city has become more convenient because services are offered at all hours.

I understand the economic benefits and the convenience, but long-term we're making people work odd hours to satisfy our whims?

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