All Page One bookstores closed on Thursday as the firm was taken over by accountancy agency KPMG.

The chain’s remaining outlets at Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong and Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui were closed for business with notices on the doors stating that stocktaking was under way.

Another notice read that KPMG’s top restructuring officials Edward Middleton and Patrick Cowley have been appointed as receivers of the “Page One The Designer’s Bookshop (H.K.) Limited.”

Page One branch in Harbour City. Photo: Wikicommons.

Page One have had special sales running since November. In October, an interior design company submitted a bid at the District Court to ask the company to pay back HK$910,000 of construction fees. Last week, Thermos, a kitchen utility company, also went to court to request sums totalling HK$480,000 for products sold at the bookstores.

In August, it emerged that multiple publishers were also seeking overdue payments from the company. The beleaguered book chain reportedly owed over HK$700,000 to its publishers.“Page One is in the process of adapting to meet current consumer’s demand… however retail business have a high fixed cost,” it said in a public statement on August 12.

The book chain added at the time that it required funding to strengthen its capital structure and said it has started discussions with a potential investor.

A notice posted at stores on Thursday.

Since opening its first Hong Kong outlet in 1997, Page One had up to 10 stores in the city at the peak of its business. However, the chain closed its store in Times Square, Causeway Bay in 2015 and shut six more stores at the Hong Kong International Airport this year. The remaining two Hong Kong branches are located at Harbour City and Festival Walk.

File photo: Wikicommons.

Foreign Press stopped supplying books to Page One in June. This summer, the company said it would not rule out the option of legal action if the troubled book chain continues to delay its payment.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.