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Our History

In August 1850, two enterprising Scots, Thomas Ash Lane and Ninian Crawford, set up a shop in a makeshift bamboo structure along Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour. They traded, auctioned and sold provisions to visiting ships’ crews as well as British Navy staff and their families. Within a year the partners opened their first permanent premises, becoming the colony’s first department store.

Since that time, Lane Crawford has occupied and been synonymous with the iconic thoroughfares of Des Voeux Road and Queen’s Road Central. Its name has reached further afield; from Hong Kong to Canton, Shanghai and Tianjin in China, to Tokyo, Kobe and Yokohama in Japan. It has served as a baker, tailor, outfitter, draper, provisions dealer, wine and spirits merchant, antiques auctioneer, wharf and steamboat operator, restaurateur and bar owner.

Throughout its rich history, Lane Crawford has always served as a companion to Hong Kong's community. In good times, it provided the finer things in life. During strikes, plagues and social unrest, it provided essential services and provisions.

During WWII, under the occupation of the Japanese Imperial forces, Lane Crawford was renamed Matsuzakaya. Upon their surrender to the British forces in 1945, the entire inventory of Lane Crawford was removed and most archives, sadly, destroyed. The business was rekindled with HK$1,000, and through the sale of foodstuffs to luxury items such as pearls and foreign cosmetics, quickly emerged from the ashes. By the 1970s, fine jewellery accounted for 60% of its sales as buyers were also tasked to search the world for the finest fashion collections. The 1980s slogan, 'We Are Temptation' was a far cry from the slogan of a century earlier: 'The Place to Buy Anything from a Pin to an Anchor.'

Today, the company still honours the wishes of its founders, Lane and Crawford, to guarantee quality, present innovation and uphold the ethos of integrity. Whilst the retail focus has shifted from one of a department store to a fashion specialty store, Lane Crawford’s mandate remains the same as it was in 1850 – to bring to its customers the world’s finest offerings.