Retail in Asia

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Landmark contract triumph for DFS in Chongqing

The fashion, watches and jewellery concession at Chongqing Jiangbei Airport’s domestic Terminal 3A was awarded to the DFS Group on 11th July by the airport authority. Martin Moodie reflects on the company’s success:

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“As China’s borders remain closed to international travel, providing more avenues for domestic retail has never been more critical or timely,”  reports DFS Chairman and CEO Benjamin Vuchot. The contract consists of a five-year fashion, watches & jewellery concession at the gateway to China’s biggest city.

Domestic terminal retailing in China is big business, and has only grown in importance during the pandemic and the resultant shutdown of Chinese outbound travel. That importance was underlined by what is thought to have been an intensely competitive bid. Modern airports such as Chongqing Jiangbei offer a fantastic showcase to consumers across this vast nation. That allure is made more evident by the way brands such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci have embraced the channel with fervour. Now DFS is bringing its trademark air, professionalism and brand relationships to the sector.

The success is particularly significant for DFS, which has a physical presence in Mainland China for the first time. The open tender contact also represents a pioneering Chinese domestic terminal contract for the company. DFS will operate 13 branded boutiques spanning 1,500 square metre in the fashion, watches, jewellery and accessories categories.

DFS will take possession of the premises in September with operations beginning in November. The retailer plans to fully unveil its offering before Chinese Lunar Year 2023 with a “stellar” array of 18 luxury brands, including first-time debuts at Chongqing Jiangbei Airport. These are in addition to brands with an existing contract, such as Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Gucci and Burberry. DFS said Terminal 3A will be “a truly luxurious retail experience at Terminal 3A.”

“We are very pleased that we were able to win this concession in the face of stiff competition from other operators. In preparing for the bid, our teams brought to life DFS’ expertise in store design, retail operations, merchandising and marketing, with a strong focus on luxury positioning,” Vuchot commented.

“We also leveraged our deep and strong relationships with some of the best brands in the world, gained over more than six decades of operational experience in airports and downtown locations. Less than two years after re-entering China with our Galleria store in Hainan Island, we are swiftly covering ground.”

SEE ALSO : DFS wins bid for Chongqing Jiangbei Airport

Chongqing is Mainland China’s largest city, with a population of more than 30 million. In 2021, Chongqing Jiangbei airport was ranked fourth in China by domestic passenger volume, with over 35.8 million people passing through Terminal 3A. From November this year many of them will be enjoying some of the best luxury shopping in the airport world.

(Source : the Moodie Davitt report)