Spacious high-end mall, once home to a popular Japanese department store
Japanese hallmark of quality service
Many Hongkongers still remember the shopping frenzy the days, even hours, before Mitsukoshi Department Store closed its doors on 17 September 2006. It was the end of an era. Mitsukoshi was very successful: the earnings from its Hong Kong store accounted for about 40% of the company’s overseas sales. Yet, the department store had to close because Hennessy Centre, the building they were in, was due for demolition, just about 25 years after it was built. It is now the 40-storey luxury office and retail Hysan Place.
The forefront of fashion
Mitsukoshi Department Store was synonymous with quality goods at competitive prices, popular among Hong Kong’s shrewd shoppers. Hong Kong was one of the first overseas branches of the leading Japanese retail chain and opened to much fanfare on 26 August 1981. For many years, this was THE place for trendy fashion brands. Popular home-grown brand, Ice Fire and Italy’s United Colours of Benetton were first introduced in Hong Kong through Mitsukoshi’s.
A little-known secret is the key role Mr Richard Charles Lee - the patriarch of the Lee family and son of 'Opium King' Hysan Lee -played in Mitsukoshi’s entry into the Hong Kong market. When Hennessy Centre was completed in 1981, plans included opening a theatre and performance centre on the lower floors, but when Mr Lee heard that Mitsukoshi was looking for a prime location for its first Hong Kong store, he immediately shelved the earlier plans and offered the space to the department store.