Japanese discount chain Don Don Donki is set to double its number of Hong Kong outlets to six by early 2021, bucking the trend of a retail industry in decline during the coronavirus pandemic.
Pan Pacific Retail Management in Hong Kong on Tuesday announced its plan to launch three new branches of the superstore in the city, the first of which will open at 100 Queen’s Road Central on October 15.
The O'South Coast store at Tseung Kwan O would make its debut in November, followed by the Island Resort outlet in Siu Sai Wan in February next year.
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Especially popular with younger shoppers, the stores provide an all-out Japanese experience, selling products including fresh produce, packaged snacks, pet food, and daily necessities, to the backdrop of blaring pop music.
Takeuchi Mitsuyoshi, president of the retail management company which owns the chains, expressed confidence that the move would strengthen the brand’s retail network and improve accessibility for customers.
That would bring “yet more diverse and exclusive products to the city that is known for its fondness of Japanese brands”, he said in a statement.
Launching in the city last year, the brand now has a total of three stores, in Tsim Sha Tsui, Tsuen Wan, and Causeway Bay.
The planned new outlet on Queen’s Road Central, which spans 12,015 sq ft of sales area across two floors, would mark the first street-level Don Don Donki store in Hong Kong. It would operate on a 24-hour basis.
The new shop’s plan defies the downturn in Hong Kong’s consumer market. City retail sales shrank 23.1 per cent year on year to HK$26.5 billion (US$3.4 billion) in July, contributing to the 32.1 per cent fall in sales for the first seven months of the year, from the same stretch in 2019.
Most categories recorded a contraction compared with the same period last year, but supermarkets continued to outperform other retailers, with a 26.5 per cent surge in sales in July. That followed increases of 4.5 per cent in June, 7.3 per cent in May, 14.4 per cent in April, 15.3 per cent in March, and 11.1 per cent in February and January combined.
Ryan Lam Chun-wan, head of research at Shanghai Commercial Bank, said Don Don Donki had carved itself a niche in the city, with its authentic Japanese style and shopping experience which could quench local shoppers’ desire to visit Japan – a top holiday destination of Hongkongers – during the existing global lockdown.
“So far only supermarkets and online shopping platform HKTVmall are having good business, and Don Don Donki does not have any close competitor of its kind,” he said.
Shopper Lau Si-lai, 30, a teacher who visits the Don Don Donki store in Causeway Bay at least once a week, said going to the store made her feel like she had visited Japan.
“I go to buy Japanese food primarily, which is so authentic. I like the shop music which gives a vibrant vibe.”
Additional reporting by Denise Tsang
More from South China Morning Post:
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