China Duty Free (CDF) today celebrated the Grand Opening of CDF Mall, the centrepiece of the much-anticipated CITS Haitang Bay Duty Free Shopping Complex.
The Moodie Report Chairman Martin Moodie is in Haitang Bay – the only industry media representative present – and talks of extraordinary scenes after the shops (the world’s biggest duty free complex) opened for business. Watch out throughout the day for more of his photos from the Grand Opening ceremony and the phenomenal shopping rush that ensued as CDF Mall opened. He’ll bring you a full report later in the week and in the next issue of The Moodie Report Print Edition. 
“In 27 years of covering this industry, I have never seen anything like it,” Moodie said. “It’s not just about the sheer scale of the project but the extraordinary vision and determination that underpins it. The building is magnificent, the range of brands and stores dazzling, the execution consistently excellent and the level of consumer excitement unprecedented in travel retail history. Quite simply it is a redefining of Chinese travel retail as we know it.
“September is relatively low season for CDF but you wouldn’t know it by the huge crowds that have poured into the new complex, prompting the need to introduce queuing systems in many of the key boutiques. By common consensus among the brand companies represented at the Grand Opening, CDF has achieved something remarkable here and I look forward to telling the full story.”
One CDF insider said today’s bonanza shopping spree had exceeded all expectations with the possibility that projected day one sales of RMB10 million (US$1.63 million) could easily double.
CDF opened 90% of its retail offer today; the remaining space – hosting big names such as Louis Vuitton and Prada – will be opened during the 2015 Spring Festival (19-25 February). The facility boasts the world’s largest duty free shopping centre (70,000sq m), supported by a strong duty paid, food & beverage and entertainment offer.
The store features almost 300 international top brands and more than 100,000 fashion items. It includes 8,000sq m of space for beauty products alone as well as a wide array of the world’s leading luxury brands.
Architecturally the commercial complex was inspired by the form of a blooming Begonia flower, creating an imposing structure certain to become a major tourism landmark in its own right.
Visitors to the complex will be able to use a dedicated platform on the high-speed railway from Haikou to Sanya, while free shuttle buses will carry tourists between the retail complex and popular hotels.
The retailer said that its downtown duty free store in Dadonghai, Sanya would close after the opening. It added that in the three years since Hainan’s offshore duty free policy was implemented, the proportion of tourist expenditure represented by shopping has jumped from 13.8% to 27.6%.
Swatch Group brand Tissot, very popular with the Chinese, was packed with customers throughout the first day of trading.
Happy Bazaar features a strikingly original approach to the confectionery category
In a statement CDF said: “Haitang Bay Duty Free Shopping Complex will push offshore duty free shopping into a new stage where the six components of tourism – food, accommodation, transport, tourism, shopping and entertainment – are further integrated.
"The opening marks a new level of development for the Chinese duty free industry, and provides a new platform for Chinese consumers to experience world-class duty free shopping within China.”
More to follow, including an interview with China Duty Free Group President Peng Hui and many more pictures from a day that changed the face of Chinese travel retail.

SOURCE: The Moodie Report China


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