DFS Celebrates a Decade of Strong Growth in Hong kong by Rebranding its Three Downtown Stores "T Galleria"
OCTOBER 28, 2013 - DFS Group, the world’s leading luxury travel retailer, today announced the rebranding of its three downtown Hong Kong stores from DFS Galleria to the Traveller’s Galleria, or “T Galleria by DFS”. DFS has now rebranded four out of fourteen Gallerias worldwide, in line with an ambitious rollout plan which kicked off in Honolulu, Hawaii in early September.
DFS also reported that the annual number of visitors to its downtown stores in Hong Kong reached 18 million in 2012, a cumulative increase of more than 350% since 2004. This decade of steady growth in Hong Kong validates the strong value proposition DFS offers travellers and locals alike. Customers can choose to shop downtown at T Galleria, enjoying exclusive customer lounges and highly personalised concierge services, or to visit its concessions in iconic airport locations, finding in both places an expertly curated assortment of over 700 of the world’s most desired luxury brands, backed up by the reassurance of DFS’ 100% worldwide merchandise guarantee.
T Galleria reflects the ultimate evolution in downtown luxury stores, offering a premium assortment of goods across numerous branded boutiques while presenting products to the highest standards and with exceptional personalised customer service. T Galleria offers customers a seamless, convenient and personalised shopping experience across wide selection of luxury brands from the four main categories of beauty and fragrances, fashion and accessories, watches and jewelry, and wine and spirits. The bold and modern “T for traveller” brand identity symbolises what DFS has become in the decades since it was established in Hong Kong in 1960: the modern world traveller’s preferred destination for luxury shopping.
Speaking at the Hong Kong rebranding event held at the T Galleria on Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, Philippe Schaus, Chairman and CEO of DFS Group, explained the important role DFS has played in Hong Kong’s evolution into a world class tourist and shopping destination:
“We are proud to be founded and headquartered in one of the largest travel hubs of the world, Hong Kong. Our company has grown up here and we are part of the fabric of Hong Kong’s retail and tourism scene. Globally we have continued to lead the travel retail industry as it has grown exponentially. The travel retail sector is a bright spot and key growth driver for the sale of luxury goods today. Our downtown stores, although originally conceived as an extension of our airport duty free stores which first opened more than fifty years ago in Hong Kong, have over time been transformed and upgraded to become one-stop shopping destinations that cater to travellers, but are open to the public. Many of the 37 million passengers who visit our stores at Hong Kong International Airport continue their shopping at our downtown stores in Hong Kong’s major shopping districts of Kowloon and Causeway Bay.”
Anthony Lau, Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, emphasised the importance of tourism to Hong Kong’s economy:
“Tourism expenditures in Hong Kong last year reached a high of HK$297 billion, with about 60% of that spent on shopping. DFS stores are an obvious retail destination for travellers to our city, who have come to recognise and trust this Hong Kong brand and its round red logo. We appreciate that DFS protects customers with a worldwide guarantee and the ability to return, exchange, or repair merchandise. Locals also travel widely for pleasure and business, and you can see from our bustling shopping districts that shopping is by no means restricted to tourists.”
In 2012, Mainland China continued to be the largest source of visitors to Hong Kong, accounting for around 72% of total arrivals and a similar proportion of DFS’ sales in Hong Kong. PRC tourists are becoming more adventurous, and over the past several years, DFS has witnessed a steady rise in the number of travellers who book their own holidays and favour a more individualistic approach to travel and shopping. DFS welcomes those who travel in groups as well as those who travel independently, offering everyone a luxurious, experiential and seamless shopping experience. The company will also continue to evolve its business to anticipate the changing needs and desires of its traveling customers.
DFS’ Hong Kong Heritage
DFS has deep roots in Hong Kong. The company’s founders, Robert Miller and Charles Feeney, established the company in Hong Kong in 1960 under the name Tourists International, which later became Duty Free Shoppers (DFS), at a time when tax free shopping was still in its infancy. The entrepreneurs anticipated the rise of international travellers from Asia and their increasing spending power, following vast improvements in international air travel after World War II.
In 1961, Tourists International won the bid for a duty free concession at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Airport. DFS’ first downtown stores were opened in Hong Kong (Hankow Road, Kowloon) and Hawaii in 1968, for a variety of reasons that are still relevant to downtown stores today. These include meeting unmet demand, offering savings to customers when compared to home countries, providing the convenience of in-town shopping, enhancing the range of merchandise including luxury goods, and creating a platform for partnerships with the travel and tourism industry.
In 2012, DFS won a highly competitive open tender to manage the Hong Kong International Airports’ anchor license concessions and sell watches, jewelry, fashion, and general merchandise.
Today, DFS employs over 3,000 people in Hong Kong, including over 2,200 retail store employees, and is proud to be a strong contributor to the city’s economic growth.
The “T” as Art
In an effort to share the arrival of T Galleria in Hong Kong with everyone from travellers to locals alike, DFS has developed a novel new platform for tourism in the city: “T in Art.” Paying homage to the people and culture of DFS’ hometown Hong Kong, the public arts work is hosted within the city’s iconic tourist destination, Avenue of the Stars. Composed of giant sculptures of “T”’s placed in succession in a series along the boardwalk, it mirrors the very path visitors take as they journey along the space.
Benjamin Vuchot, DFS Region President for North Asia, commented on the playful “T” art installation:
“DFS is continually brainstorming ways to enhance travellers’ experiences in Hong Kong. With this exhibit, DFS is not only celebrating a decade of business growth but also the creativity, innovation and forward-thinking that we need to continue attracting tourists to the city.”
To be publicly unveiled along the Avenue of the Stars on November 9, the “T in Art” showcase features a diverse range of iconic Hong Kong artists and entrepreneurs, including film director Patrick Kong and hotelier Yenn Wong, the mastermind behind JIA Boutique Hotels. Particularly noteworthy among them is also actor Daniel Wu, who became first to unveil his own “T” design, when he joined the media and DFS on the preview day.
In closing, Philippe Schaus reiterated the company’s commitment to the city:
“Hong Kong is a vibrant and dynamic city that is strategically located in the heart of Asia, offering easy access to the growing affluent middle classes from China, Southeast Asia, and South and North Asia, as well as global travelers. DFS embodies the entrepreneurial spirit of Hong Kong, and celebrates the city’s deep appreciation for global luxury and adventure.”