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Malls pull out all stops to lure World Cup fans

HONG KONG: Shopping mall operators in Hong Kong are offering free hotel rooms, gourmet dinners prepared by Michelin chefs, facial treatments and abalone breakfasts to compete for late-night shoppers during the football World Cup, which kicks off next month.

Sun Hung Kai Properties is spending HK$500,000 to convert a vacant floor at its flagship apm mall in East Kowloon into a temporary 10,000 sq ft "eight-star presidential suite" for lucky draw winners to watch matches, which will be screened from 7.30pm through to the early hours of the morning.

Meanwhile, rival Sino Group will offer 100 free room nights at the Royal Pacific Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui for shoppers at its Olympic City shopping centre to rest after watching late night matches.

Maureen Fung Sau-yim, general manager of Sun Hung Kai Properties' leasing department, said: "We called it eight-star as no presidential suite in the world will be as big as ours."

There will be 2,000 square feet of room space and 8,000 square feet of garden area. "The suite will be decorated to the same level as one of the group's luxury hotel rooms and be geared for partying," she said.

It will also come with a whole range of luxury hotel services worth HK$20,000. "The winners will enjoy dinner and late-night meals prepared by Michelin restaurants. They can also order facial treatments or a hair cut if they want to look fresh for work the following day. And there will be a laundry service," Fung said.

To qualify for the draw, shoppers need to spend HK$3,000 at apm. "During the five weeks of the World Cup [June 11 to July 11], we will offer a total of 15 room nights for the lucky draw winners to enjoy the games every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night," she said.

SHKP has set aside a HK$5.5 million promotional budget during the World Cup in hope of attracting as much as HK$280 million in sales. "The World Cup will be an important event for our apm tenants, especially restaurants, which will be open for business until 2am. Given that the matches start in the evening it will draw more business to our tenants at night," Fung said.

Irene So Kit-lin, general manager of retail marketing and promotions at Sino Group, said Olympic City mall shoppers who spend HK$200 from July 2 can enter the lucky draw for a room at the Royal Pacific. The biggest spender will win a free night at the presidential suite, plus an abalone breakfast worth a total of HK$22,000. - South China Morninig Post

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