Duty-free firms bid for Changi liquor license

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Duty-free firms bid for Changi liquor license

Lotte Duty Free and Shilla Duty Free took part in a bid to gain the right to sell liquor and tobacco at four terminals of Changi Airport in Singapore.

The two Korean duty-free store operators were joined in the bidding process by German company Heinemann Duty Free.

“We took part in the bid as part of the effort to expand our sales overseas, since Changi Airport is such a big airport,” said a spokesperson for Lotte. “We believe our experience in operating businesses abroad could be seen as our strength to win the bid.”

A spokesperson from Shilla said that it “expects” to win the bid as the company has shown its credentials to the airport through its perfumes and cosmetics operations there since 2014. Last year, it extended its contract until 2022.

“Winning the bid will be very meaningful since the annual sales of liquor and tobacco at Changi Airport is estimated at around 510 billion won ($455 million).”

Lotte and Shilla are the world’s second- and third-largest duty-free operators, respectively. They have been working to expand their overseas business over the past few years due to the already saturated domestic duty-free market.

The winner will start operations at Changi Airport in September next year. The contract will run for six years through Aug. 2026.

Swiss-based Dufry Group, the largest duty-free store operator in the world, did not take part in the bid, while the current contract holder, Hong Kong-based DFS Group, also chose not to try and extend its contract, according to a Moodie Davitt Report Monday.

DFS Group has been operating its business at Changi Airport for almost 30 years since 1980.

Changi Airport this year has been named the world’s best airport by London-based research firm Skytrax for the seventh straight year. It crossed the 65 million passenger mark last year.

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]
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