The Hong Kong-based luxury travel retailer DFS (Duty-Free Shop) has been awarded a five-year contract after winning a “close contest” bid to bring luxurious fashion, watches and jewellery to Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport.
As a result, China’s fourth busiest airport which saw more than 35 million domestic travellers pass through in 2021 becomes the first air station in mainland China to house the world’s leading deluxe tourism retailer owned by global luxury conglomerate LVMH.
DFS Group will take possession of the premises in September 2022, and operations will commerce in November. The group also plans to unveil new offers before the 2023 Chinese Lunar Year with a line-up of 18 luxury labels, in addition to names already secured by the airport such as Burberry, Cartier, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
At the centre of the new residence Terminal 3A, DFS will run 13 branded boutiques covering more than 16,000 square feet of floor space, including some internationally renowned names such as Armani, Balenciaga, Boucheron, Saint Laurent, Versace and Chinese jeweller Qeelin. This also marks the debut of most of the brands at the local gateway.
DFS’s landing has once again demonstrated the crucial status the new first-tier city has for the luxury industry. As one of the most populous cities in China, Chongqing has shown a huge appetite for extravagant purchasing, with the city ranked third in luxury consumption in 2019 right after Beijing and Shanghai, contributing 3.7% of the country’s total luxury spending, according to a report co-produced by Deloitte and Chinese online luxury retailer Secoo.
Meanwhile, this is also a strategic move to weather the impact and uncertainty following China’s stringent COVID rules on the luxury sector. “As China’s borders remain closed to international travel, providing more avenues for domestic retail has never been more critical or timely,” said Benjamin Vuchot, chairman and CEO at DFS Group.