Louis Vuitton Returns to Hong Kong’s Times Square

LONDON — Louis Vuitton on Friday confirmed that it is returning to the upscale shopping mall Times Square in Hong Kong after a three-year break.

The French luxury house revealed little information at this stage about what the store will look like, but according to local media, the brand has signed a five-year lease to open a 12,000-square-foot, split-level store at the island-side flagship at the location, with a provisional opening date set fort the end of 2024.

The new store will be bigger than the previous 10,000-square-foot unit at the location, which was shut down in March 2021 due to challenging trading conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of pro-democracy protests.

It’s understood that Vuitton had asked Wharf Holdings, owner of Times Square, to lower the rent as early as January 2020 when the pandemic began to spread from Wuhan to the rest of the world. At the time the brand paid around 5 million Hong Kong dollars, or $638,011, a month for the lot. It’s not clear what sum the two parties have negotiated for the new lease.

Before 2020, Russell Street in Causeway Bay, where Times Square is situated, had been constantly named the world’s most expensive shopping street. But now landlords on the street haven’t been able to attract the same cohort of luxury tenants that could afford high rents.

After Vuttion left the shopping mall, as Wharf Holdings declined to lower the rent in the end, its store was repurposed as an event space for Lane Crawford, the multibrand retailer under Wharf Holdings, for a year. It then became a pop-up space for Fendi, a brand that left Times Square at the same time as Vuitton, for the past two years.

As of spring 2024, Vuitton operates seven stores in Hong Kong, with three on the Kowloon side, three on the island side, and one at the airport. The Times Square location, when it opens, will be just a short walk away from the brand’s Lee Gardens store.

Since last year Hong Kong has been plotting to make a comeback as a global financial and creative hub. Vuitton’s spectacular pre-fall men’s show drew the global fashion crowd back to the city last November. This year so far, cultural events like ComplexCon and Art Basel have helped boost the city’s visibility on the global stage.

Michael Wong, deputy financial secretary of the Hong Kong government, had estimated that major cultural events like these will help the city attract 50 million visitors in 2024.

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