By Ariel Graham
Travelers at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport now can enjoy access to a “world-class” shopping experience in the heart of the airport.
DFW Airport and TRG Duty Free JV unveiled a new duty-free shopping center located inside Terminal D, between gates D22 and D23 on Wednesday, Dec. 20.
The center is the largest duty-free store in the Americas, encompassing over 17,000 square feet with a mezzanine lounge upstairs, complete with its own tasting area and piano, as well as more than 20 luxury retailers to choose from downstairs. Famous brands such as Chanel, Prada, Estee Lauder, Calvin Klein and others now have a new home at DFW Airport, where both domestic and international travelers can purchase high-end goods such as spirits, cosmetics, and fashions right from their terminal.
The store also features the world’s only Armani Exchange store located within the secure space of an airport, as well as the first ever Ulysse Nardin watch boutique in a North American airport within a duty-free environment.
Steve Flory, owner of TRG Duty Free and president and CEO of CBI Retail Ventures, said duty-free shopping has steadily been on the rise over the years, and the shopping center in Terminal D is a reflection of how much duty-free has changed.
“Duty-free has morphed from the standpoint that it used to be you could not buy any duty-free products unless you were leaving the country,” Flory said. “Now, you can buy any product in a duty-free store, except for alcohol and tobacco, and it doesn’t matter where you travel to. You do have to be leaving internationally for alcohol and tobacco, but anything else you can buy just like you could on Rodeo Drive.”
Flory explained people in higher incomes who arrive at airports earlier and stay in the terminal longer, demand high-end goods inside the airports.
“What we’re seeing is the trend in retail has now shifted. People want to come in and touch and feel the high-end products,” Flory said. “The generic products, like paper towels and toilet paper, they’ll order from Amazon or some other online service. But here, we offer the custom luxury products, whether it’s face cream, perfumes, things people want to touch or feel. We’re here to meet those trends, and that’s why you see airports like DFW Airport moving into those areas, so they can satisfy those customer demands.”
In addition to these luxury brands, the stores also offers goods from three iconic local brands: TX Whiskey, Bohlin, and Askinosie Chocolate. Flory explained many customers are interested in the ‘story’ behind a product, and featuring goods from local artisans such as these along with the high-end brands gives customers options they would not be able to find anywhere else.
“Obviously there are people who still want to purchase certain name brands, whether it’s Gucci, Marc Jacobs, all the other brands you see here. They have brand loyalty, but then they also come here and say, ‘We can take something home from Texas that has some Texas origins and has that organic [feel] from beginning to end.’ That’s why it’s important, and that’s what making these stores so successful.”
Ken Buchanan, executive vice president of revenue management at DFW Airport, said his team, along with TRG Duty Free, set out to create a “world-class” shopping experience for not just people of Dallas, but for any and all passengers from around the world.
“Words cannot express how happy and grateful we are, particularly because of the experiences this will provide to our customers,” Buchanan said. “It is all about creating that global experience for our customers and making DFW a world-class airport. I’m excited for the customers who will have an opportunity to shop, to rest, to relax and just to create this unique experience for them, which ultimately sets DFW apart from every other airport in the country.”