Luxury hubs in China reboot as COVID restrictions eased

Having been shut over the past two months due to China’s strict local COVID lockdowns, two of China’s biggest luxury hubs Henglong Plaza in Shanghai and Beijing SKP are finally allowed to welcome back visitors from 29 May.

Global luxury labels such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Hermès at the world’s most profitable shopping mall in Beijing saw eager shoppers queuing up on the first day of reopening, partly as a result of restricted visitor numbers in stores to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, as per the Chinese media outlet Jiemian. Meanwhile, these immediate returns also hint at a continued demand for an offline extravagant purchasing experience in the world’s second-largest luxury market.

A special coupon, which was issued in celebration of SKP’s anniversary in April has been extended to 30 June from 4 May, allowing holders who didn’t have a chance to use it due to the sudden suspension from 29 April to not miss out on the special offer, potentially fuelling consumption enthusiasm post lockdown.

On the other hand, the Henglong Plaza in Shanghai has seen a phased reopening with some of its brand members inviting their VIPs to shop in-store on 29 May while the Plaza is officially open to all visitors from 30 May. It is understood that some 20 brands have returned to business, including Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Celine, Gucci, Bulgari, and Bottega Veneta, accounting for approximately 20% of the total brand tenants in the complex.

It is reported that the staff at Henglong are under a “closed-loop” management and digital “sentry” system (an all-in-one health check machine that scans everything from a health code to a venue code, and an ID card of a visitor as part of the COVID control efforts) which has been installed across the building.

Moreover, visitors are required to provide a negative COVID test result within 48 hours and must have their temperature checked before entry to allow a COVID safe shopping environment. In addition, to visit an individual store, visitors need to scan the “venue code” that is unique to the storefront, and face masks and social distancing rules are in place throughout the indoor visit.

The citywide lockdown restrictions in Shanghai are believed to be lifted from 1 June with conditions for businesses to resume work expected to be cancelled and from Wednesday, the two-month lockdown ordeal will come to an end for over 25 million residents.


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