Gap’s first store in Hong Kong (above).
You’d have to be living under a rock to not realise that American retailer Gap has landed in Hong Kong. The store, which is located smack bang in the middle of Central, has been covered in billboards for the past few months and Gap has also launched an advertising campaign, featuring prominent Hong Kong icons such as photographer Wing Shya (who incidentally, is photographed with his American counterpart Annie Leibovitz).
It’s the first Gap store in Hong Kong although they did have a brief and unsuccessful run here as part of LCX a few years back. The new store now operates under Gap China, where there are already eight stores in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.
While the official opening party is next week, I decided to take a sneak peak a little early because I will be out of town. So here’s my big confession – I love The Gap (yes, the fact that I call it THE Gap shows how long I have shopped there). The jeans fit great and are a total bargain. I also like to stock up on tees and pyjamas from Gap Body. Besides, I like it way more than the other American retailers that are launching in Hong Kong – yes, I’m looking at you Abercrombie.
So let’s start with the layout of the store. The 15,000 square foot space covers four floors, with men’s and women’s in the basement and on the ground floor, while kid’s and baby sections are upstairs. Unfortunately there are no stairs inside the store, so the only way you can reach the upper floors is via an escalator which can only be accessed by walking out of the store and into the adjoining office building. There are also two lifts which are excrutiatingly slow and crowded. This makes navigating the store a total nightmare, especially during busy periods.
As for the merchandise, I was disappointed. First off, there is no Gap Body. That’s right, no underwear, loungewear or comfy pants. Instead you are greeted with hoodies and tees all emblazoned with Gap logo on the front (I am guessing they are trying to cash in on the mainlanders). There is plenty of denim in the form of their 1969 line although the sizes cater to the Asian market so don’t expect to find anything over a US size 6, although the fit guide shows that they carry up to a US 12. These are also not US cuts, so expats be warned.
Obviously I wasn’t expecting cutting edge fashion but I was hoping for some of the cool classics with a twist that you often find in the US or Europe. Aside from a hooded parka and faux fur jacket (priced between HK$899-HK$999) the offerings were basic and not that much different to Giordano. The quality wasn’t great either although the prices were reasonable and on par with the US.
On the more positive side was the Gap Kids and Baby which offered quite a wide section of cute clothes and toys. But all in all I was expecting more, so hopefully over the next few months the merchandise will get better.
GAP is at 31 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong, tel: +852 2885 0789