Lady M cake walk comes to sticky end

Daigou (contract buyers) were on to a sweet thing, thanks to the popularity of the new Shanghai branch of New York luxury cake company Lady M, but border authorities have pulled the rug from under their feet.

It all started because Shanghai residents were unwilling to queue up for hours to buy the gateaux and pastries at the Lady M outlet in IFC Mall, which opened a month ago. However, they were willing to pay well for daigou to bring in the sweet treats from Hong Kong, where there are two Lady M outlets (in Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui).

So people assisting the Daigou were reportedly paying people to queue at the Shanghai store so as to encourage the parallel trade.

The shop even had to close for a day shortly after opening because the crowds it attracted were seen as a possible safety hazard, and waiting areas needed to be provided.

Shanghai customs officers were quick to become wise to the daigou cake courier service, and have warned on its official WeChat account that cake from abroad must not be for commercial use.

“If you really want to enjoy the cake, be it in Hong Kong, Singapore or the US, enjoy it there directly,” says the post. “As regards bringing it back, you’d better drop the idea.”

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Lady M shop has changed its takeaway policy. It has introduced a “lottery” system through its WeChat booking site, with winners being able to buy up to six slices of cake at any one time. Three time slots have been designated for takeaways.

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