Many of us will buy duty-free liquor and alcohol from DFS after landing in Changi Airport – unfortunately, you will no longer be able to do so in less than a year’s time.
The DFS group has announced that it will shut its duty-free stores in Changi Airport’s terminals come June 2020. The group is presently the operator for the tobacco and liquor concession in Changi Aiport. In fact, it is Changi Airport Group (CAG)’s biggest and oldest tenant, having operated in its terminals for the past 38 years.
According to TRBusiness, the DFS Group decided not to proceed with its initially agreed upon two-year extension. The said extension would’ve begun on 9 April 2020 and ended on 8 April 2022. They did however, contemplate between submitting proposals for the CAG’s six-year tobacco and liquor concession contract. Eventually, they decided against it and instead, extended its existing lease such that it ends in June 2020.
The recent limits on liquor played a part in the decision
DFS Group chairman and chief executive officer, Ed Brennan, explained that finance was at the epicenter of this decision. He said, “Specifically, changing regulations concerning the sale of tobacco and liquor, against a global context of geopolitical uncertainty, meant that staying in Changi was not a financially viable option.”
In April this year, a limit was set on the amount of alcohol a traveler – arriving in Singapore – is allowed to purchase. It was cut from three liters, to two. This came after another limit was set on the amount of GST relief claimable for overseas purchases.
A new firm will take over in 2020
However, there’s no need to worry about whether you will still be able to buy duty-free tobacco and liquor from Changi Airport after DFS closes next year.
Once this current lease ends, another operator will take over. As reported by The Straits Times, there are currently three other firms who have submitted bids for the (six-year contract) tobacco and liquor concession to CAG, one of which is The Shilla Duty Free of South Korea. The company which wins the bid will take over once DFS shuts its doors. The tender will be awarded by the end of 2019.
The DFS Group added that in spite of this move, DFS’s luxury concessions will operate as per normal. This includes stores at Changi Airport, T Galleria and Singapore Cruise Centre.