That’s what one report suggests is happening, as certain domestic Chinese brands are unable to renew their contracts on Nanjing Lu despite being willing to pay whatever increase in rent was necessary.
The three companies detailed in the report are casual fashion company Metersbowne (美特斯邦威) , Shanghai based underwear maker Three Guns (三枪), and traditional Chinese beauty and health products maker Herborist (佰草集).
These stores have been told by their landlords that when their rental contracts would not be continued. Metersbowne’s Huaihai and Nanjing store space looks like it’s going to fall into the hands of Adidas and Nike. The Shanghai government’s plan for Nanjing Lu reads like this:《上海市黄浦区十一五规划纲要》对南京东路的规划有着明确的方向：“留住外地人、吸引外国人、召唤年轻人”。进行“腾笼换鸟”，把“国际品牌引进来” (Shanghai city Huangpu District 11th Five year Plan Oultine: Nanjing Dong Lu’s plan has a clear direction: “Keep the waidi (non-Shanghai native), attract foreigners and young people. “Vacate the cage and change birds,” attract global brands in.)
Not quite a felicitous translation, but the gist is that they want more global, big-name brands in an attempt to make the Nanjing Lu comparable to glitzy shopping districts you might find in London, Paris, Tokyo and New York.
So what about “protecting” or “promoting” local brands, making sure that they have their spot in the sun? One official put it this way: “南京东路的规划并不排斥‘本土品牌’。准确地说我们是要引进国际品牌，以及顶级的本土品牌。”但何为“顶级的本土品牌”，在接受本报记者采访时，黄浦区经委朱登和并未给出明确的标准。(The plan for Nanjing East Road is not to reject local brands. More accurately, we want to bring in more global brands as well as top local brands.” However, when interviewed, Huangpu district official Zhu Denghe did not give a clear definition of what constituted a “top local brand”.)
In the meantime, these local brands, for whom the Nanjing Lu and Huaihai Lu stores were some of their major if not flagship stores, the search for a new home continues.
Photo from Zerogee’s Flickr page.