Popular Bookstore announced on March 18, 2020, the closure of all its 16 bookstores after 40 years of operation in HK.
This is the first mass-retail chain closure in 2020, after mid- to high-end fashion retailer J Crew and Aland closed all their stores in HK in Feb-20 and Mar-20 respectively.
Stocks that are impacted by the above include Link REIT and SHKP (3 bookstores; 1 fashion store each), Sino (3 bookstores), Wharf REIC (2 fashion stores), Kerry (1 bookstore and 1 fashion store) and Fortune REIT (1 bookstore).
Among malls, Link REIT’s TOP and Kerry’s Megabox have closures of both bookstores and fashion stores.
Analysts remain cautious on both luxury and mass retail landlords.
Mass retail malls operators (such as Link REIT, Fortune REIT) will also likely see vacancy pressure, despite resilient retail sales performance.
This is because chain retailers’ cash flow will be stretched for their stores in mid- to high-end malls/streets, in a prolong retail downcycle since 3Q19.