Duty Free goes 'luxe,' targets Chinese, Filipino mobile wallets

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 23 2019 03:44 PM | Updated as of Jan 23 2019 04:55 PM

Inside the newly-opened Luxe Duty Free, aimed at the mobile wallets of Chinese tourists and returning Filipinos. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Inside the newly-opened Luxe Duty Free, aimed at the mobile wallets of Chinese tourists and returning Filipinos. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Inside the newly-opened Luxe Duty Free, aimed at the mobile wallets of Chinese tourists and returning Filipinos. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Inside the newly-opened Luxe Duty Free, aimed at the mobile wallets of Chinese tourists and returning Filipinos. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Inside the newly-opened Luxe Duty Free, aimed at the mobile wallets of Chinese tourists and returning Filipinos. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Inside the newly-opened Luxe Duty Free, aimed at the mobile wallets of Chinese tourists and returning Filipinos. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Inside the newly-opened Luxe Duty Free, aimed at the mobile wallets of Chinese tourists and returning Filipinos. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

Inside the newly-opened Luxe Duty Free, aimed at the mobile wallets of Chinese tourists and returning Filipinos. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- Duty Free Philippines on Wednesday launched its newest outlet offering luxury goods, targeting the mobile wallets of Chinese tourists and returning Filipinos.

Alipay signs are on display in cash registers at Luxe Duty Free, inviting shoppers from the mainland to scan QR codes and pay for their Lancome, La Mer and Longchamp purchases. 

The retailer is also launching a website to allow passengers to pre-order merchandise before they arrive in the Philippines and pick them up at the store.

"With the increasing popularity of online shopping we are exploring ways to develop our own online platform to give balikbayans and foreign tourists a wide array of Duty Free products," said Duty Free Philippines COO Vicente Pelagio Angala.

Duty Free Philippines is "very confident" with its online strategy and can now offer discounts in the absence of leasing fees for airport space, he said.

"With the online, it will be virtual cashiering," he said. the 3,000 square meter Luxe Duty Free is located at the SM Mall of Asia complex.

There are roughly 10 million Filipinos abroad and before the advent of online retail, shopping for "pasalubong" was a tradition for many families of returning expatriates.

In 2018, Duty Free's consolidated sales rose 2 percent from the previous year to $217 million. Liquor, chocolates and candies accounted for 35 percent of sales. It set a $220-million target this year.

Balikbayans are still the top customers but Duty Free Philippines said it was also targeting tourists from China, the US and Canada.

Duty Free Philippines will also open outlets in Palawan and at the new Panglao International Airport in Bohol, Angala said, adding it partnered with the Departments of Trade and Industry and Tourism to promote Filipino-made products to foreigners.