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Asia's duty-free shops battered as coronavirus freezes air travel

Chinese state-owned CITS suffers heavy loss while DFS undergoes restructuring

TOKYO -- Duty-free shops are taking a beating as travel restrictions to contain the coronavirus leave airplanes grounded and airports closed, a sharp turnaround for what was a growing and lucrative industry before the pandemic.

China International Travel Service, or CITS, saw a dramatic reversal of its fortunes. The largest duty-free shop owner in China announced on Thursday that its revenue for the first quarter dropped 44% year-on-year to 7.63 billion yuan ($1.08 billion), swinging to a 120.14 million yuan net loss from a profit of 2.30 billion yuan a year before.

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