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Report: Louis Vuitton to shutter Hong Kong store amid protests, costly rent

LVMH Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton Société Européenne's flagship luxury brand Louis Vuitton has decided to close a store in Hong Kong due to protests and after its landlord refused to lower the monthly rent of about HK$5 million, the South China Morning Post reported Jan. 3, citing industry consultants and sources familiar with the matter.

The store in question spans 10,000 square feet of retail space at the Times Square shopping center, owned and operated by Wharf Real Estate Investment Co. Ltd., the report said. It is one of the French company's eight boutiques in Hong Kong, the report added.

The newspaper said retail sales, particularly of luxury brands, plummeted in Hong Kong as Chinese shoppers who used to travel to Hong Kong to shop are now buying luxury goods in China. The SCMP said LVMH has temporarily reassigned some sales staff to stores in mainland China as a result.

The brand did not respond to requests for comment, the SCMP said, while Times Square told the news outlet that it is "not in a position to disclose any information relating to the lease negotiations, nor arrangements."

Louis Vuitton's potential move follows its Italian peer Prada SpA's decision to close its store at Hong Kong's Plaza 2000 when its HK$9 million monthly lease expires in June, the newspaper said, citing an announcement made by Prada's landlord in August 2019.