Dozens of Hong Kong retailers to shut shop, leaving staff in the lurch

Several dozen small retailers are likely to shut shop as soon as the end of this month due to plunging sales that could lead to thousands of lay-offs as protests frighten away tourists, according to a Hong Kong-based staffing agency.

“It is just too hard to survive,” said Alexa Chow Yee-ping, managing director of AMAC Human Resources Consultants, adding that retail chains were trying their best to keep permanent staff despite the gloomy scene.

About 20 per cent to 30 per cent of retailers were now starting to send full-time employees on unpaid leave to cut costs after having let go of part-time workers.

And although the upcoming five-day “golden week” national day holiday starting on October 1 is generally a busy sales period, retailers could miss out as the city is unlikely to see a repeat of the 1.2 million mainland tourists who visited Hong Kong last year.

Since June 9, Hong Kong has been hit by protests, ignited by the now-withdrawn extradition bill.

The hardest hit retailers are in Causeway Bay as the nearby Victoria Park is the rallying point for most of the protests.

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