DFS has explained its rationale for quitting its Changi Airport liquor and tobacco concession, saying remaining there was “not a financially viable option”.

LVMH-owned DFS Group decided not to bid to retain its Changi concession which expires in July next year. It has held the concession for 40 years.

Three rival companies have lodged tenders to take over the business.

“Our decision not to bid was based on our unique understanding of the business environment as the current operator of this concession at Changi,” chairman and CEO Ed Brennan said in a statement issued today.

“Specifically, changing regulations concerning the sale of liquor and tobacco, against a global context of geopolitical uncertainty, meant that staying in Changi was not a financially viable option.”

He said that although the decision “is the right one for our business”, it was not taken lightly.

“DFS has held the concession at Changi Airport since 1980, and during this time we have exceeded all expectations for what travel retail can offer in an airport environment. We are proud of our achievements and deeply appreciative of the efforts of many talented people who have contributed to our success.

“We sincerely thank the Changi Airport Group for their past support, and extend our best wishes as they take the liquor and tobacco concession operations forward in partnership with a new operator,” said Brennan.

DFS will continue to run a suite of luxury retail concessions at Changi, along with its downtown operations at T Galleria by DFS and its Singapore Cruise Centre business.

The duty-free and travel retail giant’s exit from Singapore follows its vacation of the Hong Kong liquor and tobacco concession in December 2017 which at the time it indicated was not profitable.