Thursday, June 09, 2005

Renovation Week

Within a week time, Taipei sees the opening of two new shopping temples.
The ATT on the north side of Chunghsiao East Road Section 4 – which included brandname shops like Tommy Hilfiger, Timberland and Roots – has been taken over by the people behind the Breeze Center and will be reopened as Breeze 2 this coming Friday. A report on the new store will appear here after I visit it, maybe as early as opening day, or over the weekend at the latest.
Another converted shopping haven opened last week: the Far Eastern Department Store FE21 on Baoching Road, in the heart of Hsimenting. My first reaction on hearing that name – Hsimenting – has always been that is an area catering to teenagers, young girls, or people with limited budgets. In other words, Hsimenting is a hard sell for luxury stores of for high-end consumer adventures, witness a number of gelato places that went under.
The new Far Eastern is trying to avoid that fate by targeting young women, though without avoiding famous brands. Big names operating inside include DKNY, Issey Miyake’s Pleats Please (also a guest at Taipei 101) and Calvin Klein. There’s also a VIP lounge for ladies underwear, a new concept in Taipei.
The Far Eastern Department Store is of course a part of the same group which owns the Far Eastern Plaza and the Sogo, so failure is hardly likely. We’ll have to wait and see whether it will push the Hsimenting area upmarket, or whether it will remain an island in a sea of cheap boutiques and stalls.
Another long-awaited new shopping complex is located in the brandnew, tall greyish skyscraper close to Taipei 101 owned by President Enterprises. Originally, a Takashimaya was scheduled to open late last year. Then the local media reported President and Takashimaya had a fallout over rental fees, and the red neon sign advertising Takashimaya disappeared. One theory has it that the Breeze Center will move in, but we’ll wait and see.
In my postings in the near future, I hope to be reporting on the mid-year sales at several stores, including the Safari theme at the Idee, on the Eslite fashion course, and on the new Breeze. Then after next week, things will quieten down again for some time because of overseas engagements which will prevent me from making new postings. But more about that later.


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