DFS duty free retail chain may open shop in Venice
DFS (Duty Free Shoppers Galleria), the duty free retail chain owned by the LVMH group, is reportedly eying a location in Venice, one of Europe's biggest tourist destinations. According to the Italian press, the brand is in negotiations to move into a historic sixteenth-century palace belonging to Edizioni Property, the Bennetton family’s real estate holding company. DFS had no comment on the reports.
Benetton had bought the building from its former occupants, the Italian Post Office, in 2008 for 35 million euros. The group then hired Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas to draw up plans to restore the 6,000-square-meter property located near the Rialto Bridge, known as "dei Tedeschi Fontego," and convert it into a shopping mall for its clothing brand.
The financial crisis has been hard on the Italian textile group, especially in its home market. Meanwhile they have been forced to change their strategy, focusing on smaller stores and especially by investing abroad. The group ceded a large building in the center of Rome to the Swedish chain H&M and has been searching for a company for some time to move into the "Fontego dei Tedeschi."
La Rinascente, the Italian department store chain, was the first to express interest in the Venetian palace. Galeries Lafayette was also vying for the location. But according to the local press, DFS made the most attractive offer and a preliminary agreement has already been signed.
The duty free company primarily has stores in the Asia-Pacific region and North America and now intends to open locations in Europe, especially to cater to Chinese consumers traveling in the old world. There are also reports that DFS may be moving into the former Samaritan department store building on the Rue de Rivoli in Paris.
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