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New Luxe Boutique at Mumbai Duty-free to increase Liquor Sales

Posted: Saturday, 27 February 2016 11:34


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New Luxe Boutique at Mumbai Duty-free to increase Liquor Sales

Feb 27: The ‘Luxe Boutique’ Travel Retail that opened on Thursday at the Mumbai International Airport Terminal 2 has added to the cosmetic look of the Departure terminal, also increasing the footfalls for the liquor segment, but with a token wine section it is unlikely to increase the sale of wines like Jacobs Creek selling at $12 sharing space with rare whiskies like Chivas Regal Icon/limited edition, priced at US$3,500, opines Subhash Arora

Click For Large ViewIt is apparent that the Pernod Ricard India and Mumbai Duty Free (a JV of DFS Group and Flemingo) venture inaugurated on Thursday, is designed primarily to promote premium liquor sales, the biggest buying segment of the duty free market, which is willing to spend more and more on rare whiskies, cognac and single malts while the tiny segment looking to buy fine wines, remains well ignored.

The area of 550 sq ft designed in a very chic and contemporary style, features over 40 SKUs but the premium selection available includes matured and rare whiskies, super premium single malts and vodkas from Pernod Ricard. G.H. Mumm Champagne and Brancott Estate wines are also available (still in the ‘also ran’ category) according to the Moodie Report which does not mention Jacobs Creek (JC) in the rather detailed and long article that feels like a well-paid advertorial but in the products list given at the end, Brancott Estate has been replaced by the ubiquitous JC, the largest selling imported wine brand in India, vying for attention with the rare, super deluxe liquor.

It is heartening to note that the two rare whisky bottles allocated to India, the most expensive limited edition Chivas Regal Icon, priced at US$3,500 have already been sold out, showing the penchant of the super-rich to spend on collectibles without the price being an obstacle, while they are still oblivious to fine wines. The Article does not and perhaps cannot throw light on whether the buyer was an expat or a modern Indian Nawab who bought the pair for re-import as many of the expensive duty-free liquors and cognacs reportedly find their way back on their return flight to India.

One is legally allowed to import 2 liters of liquor or wine on return; the custom forms are silent on the capping of the product price but the customs officials generally inform me with nonchalance that the total value is restricted to Rs. 45,000 (around $680), making the import of the two whiskies in question legal by volume but illegal in value. The customs officials normally turn a blind eye to the alcohol prices so long as the personal baggage has 2 liters of alcohol.

So if you have half a mind of buying some liquor, just like the 99% of the other alcohol beverage buyers, you might want to check out the Luxe Boutique. After you have walked through the store and checked out the prices running as high as $3500 for a bottle, you might come out picking up 2 bottles of JC-selling almost for nothing in comparison, at $20-24. In any case, if you already thought JC was the best imported brand like a significant number in India believes, you would come out exclaiming-‘it is better than the best!’ Even if you are not a buyer, the walk-through is complimentary, as one sees in the perfume section full of women walking through and trying the perfume or men testing the eau de toilette bottles. (Unfortunately, there is no free tasting here yet).

But if you are an ardent admirer and a Johnny Walker loyalist, you will come out disappointed. And if you felt the pin-pricks knowing the price of $3500 for a bottle of liquor is ridiculous, you will feel it is a cheap whiskey, when compared with the Dalmore Cask Single Malt 1964 selling at the Delhi Airport Departure for $30,525!

For an earlier related article and to wade through the confusing baggage rules, please click: Confusing Baggage Rules at Airports and Retail Margins

Jai Ho!

Subhash Arora

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Tags: Luxe Boutique, Mumbai International Airport Terminal 2, Pernod Ricard India, Mumbai Duty Free, G.H. Mumm Champagne, Brancott Estate, Jacobs Creek, Chivas Regal Icon

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