Half a century on from opening a modest store in the west coast gateway, DFS is celebrating the landmark anniversary with a flurry of reopenings and promotions {All photos: Sergio Gomez}

USA. DFS Group is honouring its 50th anniversary at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and the unveiling of its newly renovated boutiques at the California gateway with an in-store celebration on 1 June.

The event will take place in the Terminal G concourse and will be attended by official representatives, VIP customers and local celebrities.

DFS noted that it has served millions of international travellers since opening its doors in 1972 as SFO’s exclusive duty free retailer.

In recent months, to prepare for the return of international travellers to locations throughout the US as the pandemic eases, the retailer undertook a comprehensive renovation of its two flagship stores in SFO’s Terminal A and G concourses.

Beauty is always to the fore with DFS and the refreshed anchor stores are no exception

In addition, luxury brand boutiques including Gucci, Burberry, Hermès and the world’s first in-airport Saint Laurent were remodelled to world-class standards. The refurbishments befit the brands’ images and are in line with SFO’s standing as one of the world’s busiest hubs, DFS said.

Great names of luxury, including Gucci, Hermès and Burberry, are showcased in style

The event will kick off 50 days of celebration, highlighting exclusive products and gifts as well as local discoveries from the Bay area.

Featured brands and products will include Benefit cosmetics, wines from the Napa and Sonoma vineyards, sweet treats from the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and See’s Candies, and spirits from Hangar 1 Distillery and Gold Bar Whiskey.

California is one of the world’s great wine regions and that status is reflected in an eclectic selection of Napa Valley and Sonoma County varietals

Super-premium labels ranging from The Macallan and Louis XIII (above) to Kweichow Moutai (below) abound in the Prestige Spirits zone

The in-store delights will be augmented by new digital experiences, such as interactive digital wine tables which allow customers to place a bottle on the table and learn about the brand and vintage displayed on the screen.

DFS has also partnered with Inflyter, the duty free shopping app, enabling travellers to browse and buy duty free as soon as a flight booking has been made and alleviating the need to wait until they reach the airport.

(Above and below) DFS has also overseen a comprehensive renovation of its two flagship stores in SFO’s Terminal A and G concourses

“DFS is honoured to have served travellers to San Francisco and the Bay Area for more than five decades,” said DFS Chairman and CEO Benjamin Vuchot.

“We are delighted to show our appreciation to them by expanding our retail offering here at San Francisco International Airport to include even more luxury brands, new products, and elevated customer experiences that take airport retail to new heights.”

Miller’s Tale – The story of a travel retail pioneer

As DFS Group co-founder Robert (Bob) Miller celebrates his 89th birthday today (23 May), his biography, Miller’s Tale – authored by The Moodie Davitt Report Founder & Chairman Martin Moodie – has just been published.

The limited-edition, private placement-only book tells the rip-roaring story of a New England boy from modest origins who co-founded and helped create a global shopping powerhouse.

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“SFO forms the first impression of San Francisco for millions of travellers around the world,” said San Francisco International Airport Director Ivar C. Satero.

“For more than half our history, DFS has been a part of the journey, creating an airport experience that travellers love.

“With this newest facility, DFS has brought a uniquely San Francisco sense of place to life, one which we know travellers will enjoy for years to come.”

DFS’s renovated stores in the A and G concourses are located just past the newly expanded security checkpoints. The store designs reflect the “laid-back yet cosmopolitan essence of San Francisco”, DFS said, with a façade that features iron-painted International Orange (the colour of the Golden Gate Bridge) and natural wood.

The unveiling of the renovated stores marks the latest in a long line of DFS reopenings in 2022 as travel resumes around the world.

In recent months the travel retailer has fully or partially reopened its network in Honolulu and Maui, Saipan, Guam, Okinawa, Auckland, Cairns, Sydney, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Macau, Venice and Paris. Since the pandemic began, DFS has added several locations stores to its global footprint.

These include the Times DF store at Mission Hills, Haikou, Hainan province in partnership with Shenzhen Duty Free, opened in January 2021. DFS is also set to open two new Gallerias in Oceania: one in Queenstown, New Zealand (Q4 2022) and another in Brisbane, Australia (by Q2 2023).

The company is also expanding its network in Macau SAR where it currently operates seven stores.

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