Date
17 January 2017
Tenny Pang says he was scared when mainland visitor numbers climbed rapidly because that meant shop rents would be going up. Photo: HKEJ
Tenny Pang says he was scared when mainland visitor numbers climbed rapidly because that meant shop rents would be going up. Photo: HKEJ

How a sportswear retailer handles fewer mainland customers

Between getting more mainland shoppers and paying lower rent, sportswear retailer Tenny Pang would prefer the latter.

This year’s drop in Chinese tourists came as a blow to many luxury goods vendors, but to Pang, it’s a blessing in disguise.

“Sales fell 30 percent but I am not worried because rentals are falling, too,” Pang told the Hong Kong Economic Journal Monthly.

Pang is also betting that robust local demand will drive a recovery.

“The local market is big enough to support the sportswear industry,” he said.

Pang said Hongkongers are very much into sports.

In fact, they are getting more demanding and particular about the style and functionalities of sportswear and equipment, fueling demand for sports products.

“I think many people have at least five to six pairs of sneakers,” he said.

The variety of sports shoes keeps expanding.

More women are joining yoga classes. Yoga shoes come in numerous types and different functionalities, he said.

Soccer shoes and running shoes are also big sellers.

One of the best things about the sportswear business is that sports apparel wears out quickly.

“A serious player needs to replace shoes four times a year at least,” Pang said.

Confident about his prospects, Pang took advantage of the slump to expand his business.

In the past six months, he has opened new shops in Wan Chai and Central.

The 7,000 square foot Nike Running outlet sits next to the head office of Hang Seng Bank.

The two-storey shop used to be occupied by Cartier but the luxury watch company decided not to renew the lease.

Pang snapped up the premises for two-thirds the original rental rate.

The new shop is already making profit.

Speaking out of 40 years of experience and a robust track record (Pang’s net worth is estimated at more than HK$100 million), Pang said this is the time to be aggressive rather than playing the defense.

Pang, 65, calls the shots but his two sons are taking over more of the day-to-day operations.

“My elder son loves skateboard fashion, so he is the key man for the merchandising of those products,” Pang said.

– Contact us at [email protected]

RA

EJ Insight writer

EJI Weekly Newsletter