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Hong Kong loses luster for luxury brands

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on November 28, 2019 - Duration: 01:21s

Hong Kong loses luster for luxury brands

Luxury brands are scaling back in Hong Kong, long seen as the gateway to Chinese shoppers, and the reasons go deeper than the city's unrest.

Julian Satterthwaite reports.

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Hong Kong loses luster for luxury brands

Louis Vuitton bags may be made in France.

But many of them are sold in Hong Kong.

It's long been seen as a key gateway to Chinese shoppers.

But now a new report from consultants Bain says posh brands are going cold on the city.

Hong Kong's political unrest is one reason.

That's caused big names like Burberry to shut stores at times.

As a result, Bain says luxury sales there will fall to 6 billion dollars this year - down from a peak of 10 billion in 2013.

But a deeper shift may also be under way.

Bain says some temporary closures will probably become permanent.

And that's not because Chinese shoppers have gone off luxury.

Bain says they make up 35% of sales in the sector - and about 90% of growth.

But now they're doing their shopping in their home cities.

A weaker yuan has made it more expensive to shop abroad.

And Beijing has cut tariffs and sales duties, eroding Hong Kong's advantage.

Overall, the luxury market keeps expanding.

Bain predicts it will be up 4% to 310 billion dollars this year.

But fewer of those dollars will be flowing through Hong Kong.

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