The three letters DFS (which stand for Duty Free Shopping) have since the 1960s been synonymous with the ultimate in selectiveness and refinement in luxury travel retail. Spotlight on a fast-growing retail channel through the prism of a global leader.
From boarding to transit, airports have always offered travelers a chance to browse through stores. Whether duty-free or not, these airport stores enjoy strategic locations and a captive audience, and many propose services designed with globetrotters in mind. This “travel retail” channel is an increasingly strategic segment, which is easily understandable considering that in 2012 the number of international travelers topped the one billion mark!
Although travelers’ expectations naturally vary, more and more want a unique, very high end experience. This led to the emergence of luxury travel retail, an industry in which the Group’s DFS brand is the world leader.
Since its founding in the 1960s, DFS has continually been a pioneer in meeting the expectations of ever-more demanding travelers. The brand’s success was initially spurred by the jet aviation tourism boom, followed by the rise of Japanese luxury consumers, and then the emergence of Chinese travelers as a major force in the luxury goods market. Chinese customers are a priority for the travel retail market, since spending when they travel is one of their favorite leisure pursuits, and the Chinese very much enjoy shopping beyond the borders of the Middle Kingdom.
Established in Hong Kong, DFS has a strategic presence across the Asia-Pacific, a region where demand remains very buoyant. The brand also boasts optimal coverage to reach its globetrotting clientele, with 420 stores on four continents in 10 countries. This includes 18 major international airports (among them Hong Kong International Airport and JFK in New York), as well as 14 downtown stores in prime city center locations. DFS recently rebranded these downtown stores T Galleria by DFS.
Philippe Schaus, Chairman and CEO of DFS, notes that this dual network of airports and downtown locations is perfectly aligned with the wants and needs of this nomadic clientele: “In the airport, people are in a hurry, checking in, going through customs, and then doing some quick shopping. With our downtown stores they have a little more time to discover our luxury product offerings and indulge in the services that are provided.”
DFS offers a selection of exceptional products from over 700 of the most desired brands—including LVMH Group brands—as well as personalized high-end services, putting it in an excellent position to capture the tremendous momentum seen in this channel. “Travel retail is a major growth engine driving the luxury retail sector today,” Philippe Schaus continues. “Our offer of exceptional products and unparalleled services put our luxury traveling customers at the heart of our business.”
With 211 million visitors in 2012, DFS continues to look to blue skies ahead.