Retail in Asia


China Tourism Group Duty Free powers ahead as net profits rise 32.8 percent

China Tourism Group (CTG), parent company of the world’s number one travel retailer China Duty Free Group (CDFG), confirmed its strong performance in 2023 first revealed in its preliminary results published on 8 January.

Revenue rose +24.1 percent year-on-year to CNY67,540 million (USD9.3 billion), while net profit increased +32.8 percent to CNY6,790 million (USD939.4 million).

SEE ALSO: Coty and CDFG partner for an array of Global Beauty Plaza openings

Chairman Wang Xuan said: “In 2023, in the face of a complex and ever-changing market environment, the company propelled under pressure, focused on our main tasks of stabilising growth, optimising structure, improving quality and efficiency, controlling risks and strengthening party building, and solidly carried out reform and innovation and management improvement, achieving steady improvement of quality and efficiency.”

Wang said the company was committed to become a world-class travel retail operator. He highlighted the late 2023 opening of Block C at Sanya International Duty Free Shopping Complex in Hainan and (through the zone’s Global Beauty Plaza) becoming the world’s first independent travel retail complex specialising in fragrances and cosmetics.

Source: China Tourism Group

Other standouts include the company’s winning bids to operate arrivals and departures duty-free stores at Tianjin Binhai International Airport and departures duty-free at Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport.

These successes were mirrored in winning bids for three ports in Yunnan and the securing of rights to duty-paid projects at Chengdu Shuangliu International, Shanghai Pudong International, Shanghai Hongqiao International and Harbin Taiping International airports, further consolidating the company’s channel advantages in China’s large and medium-sized airports and seaports, Wang notes.

CTG also won the duty-free contract at Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport in Cambodia and subsequently opened. It also successfully bid to open a Qeelin store at Changi Airport, Singapore, and launched duty-free stores onboard Adora Magic City and Mediterranea.

During the year, the company launched the ‘S Store’ (Super Service) project based on first-tier brand operations and service standards, subsequently building a total of 14 S Stores.

This initiative is designed to improve service standards and promote the optimisation and upgrading of categories and brands. The company also organised more than 30 activities, including the Island Duty-Free Shopping Festival and its annual Year-end Gala.

“The company continued to provide products and services that were popular with consumers, so as to promote Hainan Island as the great duty-free brand offering premium services and convenient shopping experience; creating a new model of ‘duty-free + cultural tourism’, and supporting the construction of Hainan Free Trade Port,” Wang said, underlining the importance of the offshore duty-free market.

The Sanya International Duty Free Shopping Complex Phase III project, described as “a new tourism retail landmark” and jointly created by the company and Swire Properties, is progressing steadily, Wang said, effectively empowering CTG’s mid- to long-term development.

Wang also emphasised CTG’s increased focus on green development, including an in-depth work on ‘carbon peaking and carbon neutrality’. During the year, the company continued to improve its four key capabilities of ‘green construction, green warehousing, green duty-free complex, and green consumption’ to promote the green and low-carbon production modes and lifestyles and better fulfill the responsibilities of a central enterprise.

Wang concluded: “As the industry leader, in 2024 we will always adhere to the guidance of Xi Jinping’s ‘Thoughts on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era’; continue to maintain strategic focus, focus on travel retail business, and build a world-class travel retailer with global competitiveness and influence.”

The Sanya Yunjie Island (duty paid) project in Haitang Bay, Sanya. Source: China Tourism Group/Swire Properties

Intensified Hainan focus

Consolidating the strategy of “deepening its presence in Hainan”, CTG added 177 new domestic and foreign brands to its operations on the island, focusing on the launch of global limited editions, world debuts and cdf-exclusives.

Annual sales at the 14 pilot ‘S Stores’ increased by +65 percent year-on-year. The cdf Hainan Application and mini program realised the integration of online booking and the offshore additional purchase platform as well as the “one-stop aggregation” pertaining to information regarding the six CDFG stores on the island.

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Key new projects to reach fruition included Phase II of the Sanya Phoenix International Airport duty-free store; Sanya International Duty Free Shopping Complex Block C; and the renovated Phase II (duty paid) of Sanya International Duty Free Shopping Complex Yunjie Island (originally Hexin Island), attracting top luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Dior plus more than 30 international high-end brands such as Buccellati, Celine and Loro Piana.