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Why Hong Kongers Are Lining Up for Hours for Nutella

Nutella Pop-Up Store in Hong KongNutella Pop-Up Store in Hong Kong
Shoppers stand in line at a Ferrero SpA's Nutella pop up store inside Pacific Place shopping mall in Hong Kong, China, on Aug. 11, 2016. Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

At first glance, it may seem like the people are just there to buy an overpriced version of a grocery store brand.

But the recent hours-long line at a Nutella pop-up shop in Hong Kong could be a broader indication of the city’s shifting retail landscape, according to a new Bloomberg report.

Retail sales in Hong Kong, where some have deadpanned that shopping is the city’s favorite sport, have fallen for 16 consecutive months. Sales dropped by 10.5% in the first half of 2016, compared with the same period last year, according to the government. Officials reportedly attribute much of the decline to plummeting incoming tourism from mainland China.

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In light of recent struggles, consumer brands like Nutella, Nike, cosmetics brand Kiehl’s, and flip-flop maker Havaianas have been answering the call with a more casual approach: pop-up shops. Some of these temporary stores are off-shoots of big multinationals hoping to build traffic outside of their permanent outlets, while others are operated by brands that couldn’t otherwise afford to rent space in high-priced malls.

“Pop-up stores offer freshness,” Kitty Choy, director of retail business for Hysan Development, told Bloomberg. “The element of surprise keeps shoppers anticipating to discover: What is going to come next?”

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Displays have been varied. Nike (NKE) created a mini basketball court to show off its sneakers, while Lululemon (LULU) took to leading yoga classes on Sundays.

At this month’s Nutella pop-up—featured in the swanky and centrally-located Pacific Place mall—customers queued to get their names added to jar labels. Despite hawking the cocoa-hazelnut spread at a premium—$10 for 12 ounces—the exhibit managed to sell more than 17,000 units in just a few weeks, Bloomberg reported.

“It’s worth coming,” said one customer, who had waited two hours.