DFS opens Changi T3 duty free duplex in $64m project

By Doug Newhouse |

Today sees the long-anticipated opening of DFS Group’s 11,400sq ft dual-floor duplex Changi Airport T3 liquor and tobacco store – the largest single space for liquor and tobacco in any DFS store around the world.


The new store is part of DFS Group’s S$85m ($64m) ‘reinvention’ of Changi Airport’s L&T business across 85,350sq ft in all four terminals, which includes the creation of new and impressive single and double-storey duplex store designs and experiences.


The retailer rightly says the store marks a milestone in DFS’ leadership and innovation in retail, plus the realization of a new retail vision for Changi Airport.


DFS Group CEO and Chairman, Philippe Schaus said: “When we embarked on this unique project, we wanted to offer Singapore – the most renowned travel destination in South East Asia with the most modern airport – a wines and spirits store of a quality and richness unlike anywhere else in the world.


“That is why we secured the collaboration of Masamichi Katayama to build this one-of-a-kind, two-level experiential store, drawing inspiration from the most stylish bars and restaurants around the world as well as from the traditional and historic cellars of France and Scotland. This project would not have been possible without the close collaboration and shared vision between DFS and the far sighted management team of Changi Airport.”


[Click to enlarge images] 

This new contract represents the biggest single investment by DFS Group in a duty free liquor and tobacco business, at the equivalent of S$85m ($64m).



Adding his comments, Lee Seow Hiang, CEO of Changi Airport Group, said: “We are delighted to see the first-ever wines and spirits duplex store open its doors at Changi Airport. The store – with its stunning façade and double volume grandeur – is not only a design showpiece on its own, but the extensive range of products and unique boutiques truly enhance the overall retail experience. It is in keeping with the DNA of Changi Airport where service is personalized, stress-free and positively surprising.


“This new DFS flagship store is the fruit of an enduring partnership we enjoy with DFS and represents our joint commitment to transform travel retail at Changi Airport. We are most honoured to present such a unique, game-changing concept to our passengers.”


Throughout the year, rare selections of Martell Cognac will be introduced here.

As reported last year, Masamichi Katayama is the award-winning interior designer and founder of design firm Wonderwall with this store design aimed at showing off DFS’ full assortment of products in a visually dramatic and attractive fashion, with the interior and façade said to be inspired by ‘flowing water and undulating shapes’. A big feature is also the double-height atrium measuring more than eight metres tall.


DFS says that ‘the store’s most innovative features’ include expanded common areas to highlight lifestyle and cultural experiences and these include an impressive lookalike Raffles Long Bar, which has been installed with permission and the collaboration of the famous iconic Raffles Hotel organisation.


This features ground-floor atrium tasting bars and a private lounge and the Long Bar itself will be serving the renowned Singapore Sling, which is still revered by visitors. Most important, DFS adds that these areas will also serve to stage guided tastings, monthly interactive activities, master classes in cocktail mixology, plus bartending and hosting at home.


A shot of the impressive interior of the T3 store, which is just one of four being opened at Changi Airport as part of DFS’ new L&T contract.



In addition the retailer will be offering its DFS’ LOYAL T customers access to The Lounge by DFS for ‘an elevated shopping experience’. This will include private viewings and new personal shopping across all product categories of DFS, with the retailer also promising highly personalized levels of service.


Within the new store, the retailer says it is also introducing Changi Airport’s first branded boutiques for wines and spirits, on the second floor, where nine brands will be located. They are: Absolut, Dom Pérignon, Glenfiddich, Hendrick’s, Hennessy, Johnnie Walker, The Macallan, Martell, and Penfolds.


The travel trunk-inspired Johnnie Walker House is the first in Singapore and South East Asia.

DFS is also promising visits from master distillers, blenders and brand ambassadors throughout the year, plus a series of global product launches from these nine brandowners.


Commenting on the new development, Brooke Supernaw, Senior Vice President, Global Merchandising – Spirits, Wine, and Tobacco said: “For over 30 years, travellers have shopped with DFS at Changi Airport because we are the destination for the best in wines, spirits and tobacco. Our new store reinforces our promise to our customers and our vision. Travellers will discover exclusive products and unique experiences that will elevate their journey.”


DFS says it has now expanded its product portfolio to more than 1,400 products from over 440 spirits, wines and tobacco brands and it claims that it is still offers the region’s lowest duty free prices, with savings of up to 70 per cent off city prices.


DFS has vastly increased its whisk(e)y selection over the last decade to include varieties from all over the world and it also offers a high-class class fine wine offer in several locations around the world – in addition to Changi Airport.



The retailer points to more than 150 different wines, including top vintage selections through the Cellar Master Guarantee, a unique service that ensures the provenance of the wines, sourcing directly from a winemaker’s cellar stocks. [This is an area where DFS has surpassed itself itself-Ed].


On the spirits side, the retailer claims to offer one of the widest airport store selections of single malts, with over 110 products from over 50 brands, plus exclusive single casks through its partnership with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and also brands such as Kavalan from Taiwan and a range of Japanese malts such as Hakushu and Yamazaki. There are even collectable whiskies from closed distilleries, such as Port Ellen.


According to DFS and William Grant & Sons, the Glenfiddich boutique is inspired by the journey of cellar and cask in the creation of its whiskies.

The retailer adds that as part of Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence celebrations, it is planning to introduce exclusive products from The Dalmore, D.O.M. Bénédictine, Jack Daniel’s and Johnnie Walker.


DFS is offering a total of more than 1,400 products from more than 440 wine, spirits and tobacco brands and over 50 single malt whisky brands. It claims to sell a bottle very five seconds at Changi and its new selection will feature 998 bottles on display within the dual floor atrium store in T3. The most expensive bottle ever sold by DFS is said to have been a Dalmore Sinclair 62 Year Old single malt for S$250,000 ($188,368) back in 2011.


The entire design concept was first unveiled by DFS Group and Changi Airport Group in Singapore last May and captured on video by TRBusiness.com. Click here for reference to that presentation by Kevin Roche, Senior Vice President, Global Design at DFS and former DFS COO, Michael Schriver: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbf_6NnP_kg


The Raffles Long Bar is being franchised by the famous Raffles Hotel to DFS at Changi Airport and is expected to become a big draw for customers.

Diageo and Brown-Forman’s biggest brands co-exist at DFS Group’s new flagship store.







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