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Retail chains attracted to Asia

By Hu Yuanyuan (

16:30, May 07, 2013

Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo top the list of cities for new retailer entries across Asia-Pacific, according to international commercial real estate services firm CBRE's latest report.

In tracking new store openings by retailers entering a market for the first time, CBRE has found that while established locations witness steady expansion, maturing/emerging markets are seeing a steady increase in activity, especially in second-tier cities in China and Southeast Asia.

"As the world's largest retail market, Asia-Pacific continues to lure international and domestic retail chains despite slower economic and retail sales growth, as retailers look to capitalize on its young demographics, growing middle class and rising incomes," said Kim Mercado, director, CBRE Research, Asia-Pacific.

"With many retailers, especially those in the luxury sector, already having an established presence in major cities, many are shifting their focus toward opening new stores in emerging locations to support demand from growing consumer bases."

In examining new entrants by sector, "luxury and business" retailers accounted for the highest portion (27 percent) in Asia-Pacific in 2012. This was followed by "mid-range" fashion accounting for 18 percent, along with "specialist clothing" (12 percent), "coffee and restaurants" (12 percent) and "value and denim" (11 percent).

In overall terms, new store openings for mid-range fashion retailers are now expanding at a faster rate compared with their luxury counterparts.

"Given Asia's young demographics and propensity to use technology to increase fashion knowledge, along with the growing buying power of its emerging middle class, we are seeing an increased demand for mid-range stylish fashion," said Sebastian Skiff, executive director, CBRE Retail Asia.

"This represents a significant opportunity for more affordable brands across the region, especially in China."

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