Department store chain YATA will continue to focus on Hong Kong locals as it believes that depending on mainland visitors will not be a sustainable strategy in the long term, a top executive said.
The Japan-themed retail unit of Sun Hung Kai Properties (00016.HK) has seen its efforts pay off as it recorded strong sales growth in recent months, in contrast to the lackluster showing by several competitors amid falling expenditure of mainland tourists, according to Ming Pao Daily.
YATA’s total revenue was up 26.7 percent in the eight months to August compared to the same period last year, managing director Daniel Chong Wai-Chung said, even as many other department stores and supermarkets in Hong Kong suffered slow or even negative growth.
Enthused by the good sales, the department store operator is preparing to open a new outlet — its seventh — next week in the Kwun Tong district.
Chong expects YATA’s sales to grow 18 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter, and that full-year 2014 revenue could be up 20 percent, the report said.
Although many department stores have turned their focus to visitors from mainland China, YATA has chosen to serve the local population as Chong believes the shopping spree of mainlanders will not last forever.
YATA has not done any promotion during the October Golden Week holiday after it opened its first store in Hong Kong seven years ago. The company is in business for Hongkongers, Chong said, also pointing out that his stores do not use simplified Chinese characters, the standard written form of Chinese in the mainland.
Hong Kong people have strong consumption power and Japanese-style home necessities have a large market, the executive said, adding that his firm has consciously chosen not to focus on mainland tourists.
YATA will open its new store at the APM mall in Kwun Tong next Thursday after opening three outlets last year. The new store, which involved an investment of HK$58.1 million (US$ 7.49 million), is spread over 32,000 square feet. The company is also gearing up to open two more outlets.
YATA has no plan to enter the mainland market, Chong said, pointing out that very few Hong Kong retailers have managed to gain a foothold there.
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