Fortnum & Mason to open first overseas store in Hong Kong

For three centuries it has been the go-to grocer for Britain's royals and aristocrats but now Fortnum & Mason plans to open its first overseas outlet in the former crown colony of Hong Kong.

The luxury British department store announced on Wednesday that its first foray onto foreign soil would be within a soon-to-open luxury Hong Kong mall in Tsim Sha Tsui, a region of the city popular with well-heeled mainland Chinese shoppers.

"We have seen significant appetite for the Fortnum's brand and products in the region," chairman Kate Hobhouse said in a statement announcing the 7,000 square foot (650 square metre) store, which is slated to open in September in a new $2.6 billion mall development on the Kowloon side of the harbour.

"Our latest expansion in Asia is an important next step for us as we extend our reach further across the world," she added.

Britain's luxury retail brands have long courted the power of the yuan -- in 2017 Harrods said Chinese visitors had overtaken Brits as their largest spenders.

Faced with the switch to online shopping, many British retailers have reduced their bricks and mortar presence or looked for new opportunities overseas.

Fortnum's products have been available at a handful of rival department stores in Asia, North America and Russia but this is the first time the group will open its own stand-alone shop outside the United Kingdom.

Founded in 1707 by a royal footman and his landlord partner, the brand has long been a favoured food supplier to royals and blue bloods and the company boasts a long list of idiosyncratic firsts.

It claims to have invented the scotch egg in 1738 and in 1886 it became the first store to introduce Brits to a new tinned food by budding American inventor Henry Heinz dubbed "baked beans".

In its press release Fortnum said the Hong Kong store would include a restaurant serving afternoon English tea.


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