DFS confident of business despite Asian cash crisis

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 July, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 July, 1998, 12:00am

Duty Free Shoppers (DFS), which for many years was the largest retailer at Kai Tak, is not expecting Asia's economic woes to seriously affect its specialty retail business at Chek Lap Kok.

James Hurley, president, Asia DFS Group, said there was no question that passenger numbers and retail volumes would be less than anticipated when plans were put together with the Airport Authority.

'DFS is somewhat insulated from the economic impact because we are totally focused on the specialty store concept which is unique and has a niche market demand,' Mr Hurley said.

'We are comfortable we will make our numbers and do not have the same concerns we would have had if we had successfully bid for some of the larger retail space that was available.' The airport's retail environment will give DFS the scope to showcase its talent and expertise in specialty store retailing.

'We are enthusiastic about the opportunity the airport presents to us from a retail point of view which will really allow us to present our products in an excellent environment,' he said.

Mr Hurley said DFS's eight concessions were a major strategic move for the company to move forward and diversify its business.

The concessions include boutiques featuring goods from Ferragamo, Nina Ricci and Christian Dior, a joint venture with Disney, and two candy and food outlets.

DFS also has two outlets for Oriental arts and crafts souvenirs under its Canton Market private label.

Mr Hurley said the airport would allow DFS to properly present luxury brand goods and provide the highly personal service customers of brand names required.

'The space constraints of Kai Tak made it virtually impossible to present and market products with the correct ambience that consumers expect,' he said.

'Chek Lap Kok allows us to arrange our retail concepts in a way customers know and understand. They will find there is no difference between our concepts and the same retail outlets in the up-market shopping malls of Taipei, Tokyo or Singapore.' As a pioneer of language training for its staff, DFS employees are able to greet customers and explain products to them in a wide range of languages.