Date
11 December 2016
Page One had 10 stores in Hong Kong at its peak but financial trouble forced their closure. The last two outlets were shuttered on Thursday. Photo: HKEJ
Page One had 10 stores in Hong Kong at its peak but financial trouble forced their closure. The last two outlets were shuttered on Thursday. Photo: HKEJ

Troubled Page One closes remaining stores

Page One’s outlets in Festival Walk and Harbour City officially closed on Thursday, signalling the end of the struggling bookstore chain in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

A notice for a stock-taking was posted at the entrance to the two outlets. A note said auditing firm KPMG is the court-appointed receiver.

Passers-by were seen stopping by the Page One store in Harbour City to check out the notice.

Caren, a long-time customer who works in the advertising industry, said she was not surprised by the fate of the bookstore but added it was a pity to see it close.

She had been making purchases since the store opened in Harbour City. Her favorite were furniture design books from Japan usually only available at Page One.

“Being able to flip a physical book is always a better experience than reading it online,” she said.

Another customer, surnamed Mok, said he used to spend time at the bookstore during holidays or after work.

He blamed the lack of interest in reading among Hong Kong people as the main reason for the drop in sales of bookstores.

The bookstore chain has been struggling financially over the past year.

According to Lam Pik-fan, owner of Luck Win Bookstore in Causeway Bay, the growing popularity of tablets and smartphones has had a profound impact on book sales.

“Those who would spend thousands of dollars on books every month are now turning to electronic versions as they run out of space to store books,” Lam said.

“While existing customers are getting older, new ones are not catching up in numbers, meaning this is a situation that is difficult to overturn.”

After opening its first Hong Kong shop in 1997, Page One became a cultural icon with 10 stores.

But financial difficulties have led to the closure of eight stores in recent years.

There have been reports that new investors were being lined up but the much-anticipated help never materialized.

Last week, Thermos sued Page One for HK$440,000 (US$56,720) as proceeds from the cookware firm’s consignment sales.

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Hong Kong Economic Journal

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