More excellent luxury retailers’ results

Stan-GloomWe should do these Tuesday-Friday working arrangements more often. Anyway, after an agreeably not-too-long four days of semi-hard-ish slog, what a delight to read the latest wonderful and cheery news from Hong Kong’s luxury retail sector. Dickson Concepts saw its net profit plummet from HK$155 million in 2013 to a scintillating minus HK$110 million for 2014. Whoops.

Boss Dickson Poon predictably blames Occupy Central and moans about the one-visit-per-week cap on Shenzhen residents (which has barely taken effect even now, two months after the end of his company’s reporting period). He doesn’t explain how the Glorious Umbrella Uprising damaged his stores’ business in Singapore. Nor does he mention Chairman Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption purge on the Mainland, which has especially affected regional sales of pricy watches, pens and other Harvey Nichols-type baubles traditionally used as palm-greasing gift-bribes by Chinese cadres.

He does, however, go into Major Mope Mode over Hongkongers’ failure to share his adoration of Mainland shoppers. Why would shoppers come here, he asks, if they’re going to get insulted? (More to the point: why are so many of them still coming here despite it?)

Of course, he does not ask why many Hong Kong people find the Mainland shopper phenomenon so irksome that some are driven to protest and even insult. It could be he has no idea that residents are suffering as their streets and transport facilities are swamped and their neighbourhood stores driven out or forced to raise prices.

Maybe he thinks we all own distribution rights to designer labels. That would explain his puzzlement. Yes, that must be it.

The anti-corruption purge (or Umbrella Revolution, for that matter) only took serious effect in the second half of the last financial year. The 2015-16 period will quite possibly be bad for the luxury tat market for the full 12 months, especially if, say, Mainlanders get wiped out on the stock market. If so, glitzy retail chains have a lot more red ink to come. What a heartwarming note on which to declare the weekend open!

And it gets even better. If it’s too hot or wet to go out, I can recommend The Execution of Gary Glitter, which I think is brilliantly funny (though I have a nagging feeling we’re supposed to take it seriously).

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9 Responses to More excellent luxury retailers’ results

  1. Chinese Netizen says:

    Poon’ll bask in RMB once his overlords in Beijing begin to seriously slash the unrealistic “duties” on luxury clothing goods, in which he still retains distributorship rights for many brands.
    After that, he’ll have nothing to bitch about. Unless Chinese masses finally decide it’s ridiculous to spend RMB3k on a t-shirt with something like “Givenchy” or “Versace” sprayed on, making one look like a total rube. Or “tu hao”.

  2. Maugrim says:

    Occupy is the gift that will keep on giving. You just know that it’s going to form some part of whiny excuses for the next ten years. It’s going to be fun to listen to. Just wait till the Chinese economy tanks a little more, it will be blamed for that too.

  3. Cerebos says:

    Hmmm. I would say it’s a case of the greed gene rearing its head. His units are crappily managed with a huge vacuum between the executive and day to day operations. Meanwhile plenty of other brands are up 30% on a comp basis in China with even HKG ticking up around 10%. It’s the brands who embraced the whole luxury shop on every block (QRC alone once had around 7 Fartier outlets) that are suffering.

  4. JD says:

    “The company, distributor for brands such as Lanvin and Tommy Hilfiger and operator of the Harvey Nichols mall, reported turnover of HK$4.32 billion for the financial year ended March, down from HK$4.35 billion last year.”

    Wait, so turnover was basically flat (so can nix those Occupy/Shenzhen visa theories as having an effect on shopping), but then… a net loss? And the explanation:

    “Poon said margins were squeezed by as much as 2.6 percentage points ‘in order to maximise sales in the face of the significant decline in the retail markets in which the group operates, particularly in Hong Kong, China and Singapore’.”

    Couldn’t it be as simple as the fact that rents went up, tightening the margin? Not just “oh, we had a sale and that’s why we lost money”? Ridiculous.

  5. Stephen says:

    I’m interested in who will take up all that empty retail space once the “luxury tat” purveyors give up and set up shop elsewhere. Presumably in time honoured Hong Kong tradition it will be Midland, Centaline and Century 21 as usual. To paraphrase the Sub Standard the weekend is a perfect time to “snap up a unit in The Bollox II” in spacious Tsueng Kwan O !!

  6. dimuendo says:

    Why no comment on Lau Wong fat apparently reiring from that bastion of self interest the Heung Yee Kuk and yet seeking to follow on by ordaining his son Lau Ip fat (Kenneth)?

  7. Joe Blow says:

    Neither Joshua Wong nor Leung Kwok-hung made it into Malaysia.


    The UK Government should issue a standing order to bar Carrie Lam from entering.

  8. NIMBY says:

    I know I make spelling errors often enough myself, so excuse the grammar Nazi act, dimuendo, but it’s Heung Yee Crooks.

  9. NIMBY says:

    Had to think of our friends in the SCMP, the reporters at RTHK, as well as the hosts of Backchat (who just read emails without attempting to get their guests to respond), and 3rd world staff at The Standard (a rather famous brand of sanitary ware too).

    The key is to exploit journalists’ incredible laziness. If you lay out the information just right, you can shape the story that emerges in the media almost like you were writing those stories yourself. In fact, that’s literally what you’re doing, since many reporters just copied and pasted our text.

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