By  on November 25, 2008

HONG KONG — The economic gloom is hovering over retailers here, but Adrienne Ma’s fledgling company, Amma Holdings Ltd., is forging ahead.

It has opened a second Y’s Mandarina Duck shop here, in a 1,500-square-foot flagship in Central’s luxury mall, IFC.

The minimalist store, with steel floors, birchwood blocksand three fluorescent papier-mâché “display” trees that showcase handbags, carries a full range of products from both the Y’s Mandarina Duck and Mandarina Duck collections. The former is a result of the Italian luggage wear’s collaboration with designer Yohji Yamamoto.

“We wanted to show off categories galore,” said Adrienne Ma, chief executive officer of Amma, who remains upbeat about opening in difficult times. “In retail we have to plan six months ahead, so it’s not easy to predict, but I’m happy because these are products that won’t go out of style, and people will always need bags for travel,” she said.

Although Ma declined to project sales for the new shop, she said business at the first Y’s Mandarina Duck store, which opened in September, is steady now that they have adjusted the merchandise mix.

“We expected there would be a lot of travel customers, but in fact the men all want the messenger bags and the women want handbags, so we have changed the categories a bit,” she said.

Joyce Ma, matriarch of Hong Kong fashion and Adrienne Ma’s mother, attended the opening and said she does not miss the business. “Especially in this climate,” she said. “I was so lucky, I had a great career, but I don’t miss it at all. I got out at the best time.”

Karim Azar, assistant general manager of leasing at IFC, confirmed that the new Y’s Mandarina Duck shop has a three-year lease and said other brands will make their debuts at IFC over the next few months. Moncler, another Amma brand, will open its first store in Asia in three weeks, and a slew of footwear brands are set to open, including Giuseppe Zanotti, Cole Haan and Bally. Steve Madden opened its first shop here just weeks ago.

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