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DFS Group (often simply referred to as "DFS") is a leading luxury travel retailer. Established in Hong Kong in 1960, its network consists of duty free stores located in 18 major global airports, 14 downtown Galleria stores, as well as affiliate and resort locations. The Group is privately held and majority owned by the world’s largest luxury conglomerate Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), alongside DFS co-founder and shareholder Robert Miller. DFS Group employs over 9,000 people. In 2012, over 200 million travellers visited DFS stores. DFS is headquartered in Hong Kong and has offices in Hawaii, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo.
In 1960, Americans "Charles Feeney and Robert Miller founded Tourists International, which later became Duty Free Shoppers (DFS), in Hong Kong, at a time when tax free shopping was still in its infancy. The entrepreneurs anticipated the growing spending power of military servicemen as well as the rise of international travelers from Asia, following vast improvements in international air travel after World War II. On 7 November 1960, Miller and Feeney, under the names Tourists International and Cars International (predecessors to DFS Group), opened an operation and showroom on the Wanchai Waterfront in what was then known as Rediffusion House. The initial focus was marketing duty free cars and liquor to US military and navy personnel.
In 1961, Tourists International won the bid for a duty free concession at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Airport and opened its first airport store (using the Duty Free Shoppers name, which was purchased from military entrepreneur friends Stewart Damon and Harry Adler).
in 1962, On October 22, 1962, Tourist International won the bid for a 120 sq. m. store in Honolulu, following a rapid increase in tourism and travel to Hawaii after it became the 50th state in the U.S. in 1959.
In 1964, DFS Group saw the beginning of a golden period of outbound travel by Japanese tourists, which would soar by 19 percent per year for the next 22 years until 1986.
In 1965, the company shuts down its military business, dropped the names Tourists International and Cars International, and began exclusively using the name Duty Free Shoppers (DFS).
In 1966, travel restrictions on Japanese were lifted, and DFS recognized Japan’s desire for travel and Western luxury items. DFS opened stores in destinations favored by Japanese tourists, hired Japanese-speaking staff, and offers after-sales service in Japan.
In 1968, DFS’s first downtown stores were opened in Honolulu and Hong Kong (Kowloon, Hankou Road), for a variety of reasons that are still relevant to downtown stores today, including meeting unmet demand, providing the convenience of in-town shopping with goods delivered to airport, enhancing the range of merchandise including luxury goods, and the ability to coordinate travel agents who facilitated their tour as a part of their itineraries.
In 1969, DFS opened an airport store in Anchorage, Alaska – the first for North America.
In 1970, DFS entered Japan by setting up an after sales service office for returning shoppers and laid the foundations of what would become its 100% Worldwide Guarantee.
In 1971, Classic Jewelers was founded in Hong Kong as a subsidiary of DFS to produce jewelry that was sold in the DFS stores. DFS also opened a hotel-based store in Guam.
In 1972, DFS opened two more stores in Guam, one downtown and one at the airport.
In 1973, DFS opened a store in the heart of Kowloon, Hong Kong on Nathan Road. DFS also entered the U.S. market by opening stores at San Francisco International Airport and in downtown San Francisco.
In 1974, DFS opened an airport store in Oakland, CA.
In 1975, DFS opened its flagship DFS Waikiki Square store in Honolulu.
In 1976, DFS opened a store in downtown Los Angeles, and opened its first store in Saipan.
In 1978, DFS opened a store at Payer Lebar in Singapore.
In 1980, DFS opened a store at the new Changi International Airport in Singapore, which would later be followed by a number of hotel stores and a Galleria, firstly at Tanglin and then subsequently at Scottswalk.
In 1982, Robert Miller commissioned American artist Andy Warhol to work on the DFS logo.
In 1995, DFS opened the first downtown Galleria in Guam, repositioning itself as an operator of high-quality, specialty stores, and aiming to capture sales from travelers outside airports.
In 1996, LVMH acquired the majority share of DFS Group, buying out the interest of Charles Feeney. LVMH’s investment in DFS represents a combined vision of luxury goods and travel retail, and with it, the Group shifts its emphasis to luxury and fashion.
In 1997, the Asian Financial Crisis hits Hong Kong hard, but DFS weathered the storm, deciding to broaden its Galleria network, move toward the luxury end of the market, and diversify away from its reliance on Japanese consumers.
In 1999, Edward Brennan was appointed CEO.
In 2003, DFS Group established its first Chinese after sales service center in Beijing.
In 2004, DFS moved its headquarters from San Francisco to Hong Kong.
In 2005, branded boutique halls opened in Okinawa launching a new shop-in-shop concept for Gallerias.
In 2006, DFS Platinum Services Club is established, offering privileges such as limousine service, access to VIP lounges, and invitations to special events.
In 2008, DFS unveiled its airport store in Abu Dhabi, capital city of UAE. DFS also opened stores in Mumbai and Macau.
In 2009, DFS launched its Masters program to offer customers an elevated level of product knowledge and educational experiences, holding the first ever Masterpieces of Time event in Macau.
In 2010, DFS established DFS University to enhance employee expertise and education (centers for leadership and talent development; schools of fashion and accessories, beauty and fragrances, watches and jewelry, wines and spirits).
In 2012, Philippe Schaus was appointed CEO, effective August 1, 2012, succeeding Edward Brennan, who became a Non-Executive Director of DFS Group. Michael Schriver, previously President for Stores and Business Development, was named COO. DFS also launched the first Masters of Spirits event in Singapore. At the same time, DFS opens a new downtown store in the heart of Causeway Bay in Hong Kong, and secures three core concessions at Hong Kong International Airport.
In 2013, DFS unveils a new institutional logo. DFS also rebrands its downtown Galleria Stores “T Galleria” and unveiled a strategy of localization for airports.
DFS Gallerias are located in:
- DFS Galleria, Cairns
- DFS Galleria, Sydney
- Haikou Meilan International Airport, Hainan
- T Galleria Hong Kong, Canton Road
- T Galleria Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui East
- T Galleria Hong Kong, Causeway Bay
- Hong Kong International Airport
- Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai
- DFS Galleria, Bali
- Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Jakarta
- Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali
- Kuala Namu International Airport, Medan
- DFS Galleria, Okinawa
- Naha Airport, Okinawa
- Haneda Airport, Tokyo
- Narita International Airport, Tokyo (JAL Duty Free)
- T Galleria Macau, City of Dreams
- T Galleria Macau, Shoppes at Four Seasons
- Abu Dhabi International Airport
- DFS Galleria, Guam
- DFS Galleria, Saipan
- Saipan International Airport
- Roman Tmetuchl International Airport, Palau
- DFS Galleria, Scottswalk
- Changi International Airport
- Cruise Centre Tanah Merah
- Cruise Centre Harbourfront
- T Galleria Hawaii
- San Francisco International Airport
- Los Angeles International Airport
- New York JFK International Airport
- Honolulu International Airport, Hawaii
- Kahului Airport, Hawaii
- Ho Chi Minh City Airport (Sasco Duty Free)
- Noi Bai International Airport, Hanoi (Nasco Duty Free)
- Da Nang International Airport (Dia Duty Free)
- Camh Ranh (Crac Duty Free)