By Cheah Ui-Hoon
IF you needed to get a speedy souvenir for a friend visiting from abroad, the first shop to pop into your head might be DFS Galleria. But now, with the wide selection and good positioning of branded boutique galleries there, DFS Galleria might well be the place to go if you wanted an exclusive Coach design, or Marc by Marc Jacobs shoes and bags, or Chaumet jewellery.
Since its revamp at the end of last year, DFS Galleria has scaled down its souvenir section and moved with the times by bumping up the presence of international brands to cater to luxury shoppers.
In a progressive revamp that has taken over 18 months, levels one and four of the five-year-old DFS Galleria have seen the most changes. Where one used to step into a busy 'jungle' theme with souvenirs like Merlion chocolates and T-shirts, DFS Galleria's first floor now is a sophisticated showcase of premier watch brands with Omega, Tag Heuer and Longines as its anchor brands.
Take the escalator - possibly Singapore's longest - straight up to the fourth level to get an all-brands-under-one-roof shopping experience. The most recent label to open shop at DFS is Mulberry, on the floor where boutiques are sized generously from 700-1,500 sq ft.
International fashion brands continue to be housed at level three, with an exclusive-to-DFS Chaumet jewellery boutique; while the cosmetics and fragrance section on level two has seen minimal change. Here, the exclusive-to-DFS marques are Sephora's wide range of nail and beauty accessories and Federic Fekkai haircare products. And since its target market is travellers, expect to find a wide range of traveller's kits offered by different brands.
While DFS Galleria still focuses on travellers as its target market, nothing stops the local Singaporean from dropping by to enjoy the facilities. In fact, the company does have several pluses going for it for the shopper who wants a more exclusive shopping experience.
Since two years ago, DFS Galleria has, in fact, introduced membership services for shoppers who spend over US$5,000. Membership is categorised as Platinum (minimum spend of US$5,000 in a year), Prestige and Premier (minimum spend of US$75,000) levels - with the services of a private lounge, personal shoppers, private viewings and limousine services provided.
The loyalty programme is open to all members, local or foreign. It started in 2006 and will soon be rolled out globally.
While we're used to seeing droves of Japanese and Korean tourists shopping at DFS Galleria, one doesn't need a passport to shop at DFS Galleria. With the revamp, the store has given more reasons for the Singapore resident to shop there - especially those who don't want to jostle with the crowds at Ngee Ann City and Paragon - even if you can't claim the on-the-spot GST refund.
DFS Galleria celebrated its remodelled Galleria with a private shopping charity event last night, in support of its adopted charity, Bali Bridges.
This article was first published in The Business Times Weekend edition on June 14, 2008.