Chow Tai Fook to expand Monologue chain, shutter some signature stores
Hong Kong jewellery retailer Chow Tai Took is expanding its new lower-priced chain to target younger shoppers in mainland China and is also to close up to eight Hong Kong and Macau stores by the end of the current financial year (March). Up to six will also close next year with most of the shops that are being axed located in tourist areas.
MD Kent Wong said the new chain will not provide a huge boost to revenue for now but the launch was a must-do to avoid it losing younger consumers.
Its new chain, called Monologue, offers jewellery at around a third of the price of the products in Chow Tai Took stores. The first Monologue store opened last autumn in Shenzhen with up to six more planned this year.
The company currently operates over 2,000 stores selling jewellery and upscale watches and has been affected by the anti-corruption drive in China that has deterred conspicuous consumption and dented sales of luxury goods.
At the same time, Hong Kong has seen a major tourist downturn in recent years and this has hurt its retail trade, particularly at the luxury end of the market.
But Chow Tai Took, the world’s largest jeweller, has also been affected by intense competition among jewellers in key tourist areas, as well as by Hong Kong’s high retail rents.
However, Kent Wong said the company’s business is improving with consumer sentiment recovering in Q4 and comparable sales in mainland China also rising.
While he is staying cautious on prospects for this year, he believes a further improvement could come in the second half.
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