US/INTERNATIONAL. Yesterday’s appointment of Enrique Urioste as the new President of Duty Free Americas’ Airport Division underlined the company’s ambitions for the second time in a week, following the opening of its new retail offer at the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel.

Duty Free Americas (DFA) owned by the Falic brothers – Leon, Jerome and Simon – has been the 21st century surprise package of travel retail. It entered the channel by acquiring World Duty Free Americas in 2001 (on 11 October, just days after the 9/11 terrorist tragedies in the US) from BAA and met initially widespread scepticism from many in the industry due to its previoius involvement in the US domestic discounting scene.

In just under six years since it has proved the sceptics wrong, gradually expanding its dominant position in the US airport and border market, entering Latin America and, this year, making its first foray into Asia at the Venetian. There it employed Martha Rosas, former Duty Free Manager Worldwide of Luxottica Group, as Director Purchasing & Merchandising Asia.

Wide entrances beckon shoppers into DFA’s cosmetics/electronics and liquor/tobacco/confectionery areas at The Venetian

The store is still taking shape but the early images underline the sense of space and elegance the retailer is aiming for

In January 2007 wholly owned subsidiary Falic Fashion Group struck a licensing agreement with Perry Ellis International to manufacture and distribute fragrances, toiletries and cosmetics under the Perry Ellis brand.

Enrique Urioste: Dynamism personified

Under the deal Falic Fashion acquired all Perry Ellis’s fragrance inventory and other related assets of the fragrance business for about US$63 million.

The Falic family also acquired the Christian Lacroix fashion house from LVMH in 2005, and the Hard Candy and Urban Decay beauty brands in 2002.

The early pictures of the Macau offer on this page only hint at the ambition of the offer – furniture was still arriving as CEO Jerome Falic sent us these pictures – but there is no doubt that the end product is designed to take DFA into a new qualitative league.

So is Urioste’s appointment. As we said when we broke the story yesterday, he is one of the industry’s most respected executives and perhaps without rival in terms of sheer dynamism.

For a tightly held family company to bring in such a powerful, articulate and free-speaking outside influence says much about its confidence and its direction. Expect more growth – organic and acquisitional – in the relative near-term.

The Falics are proving themselves highly adept at spotting opportunities and making acquisitions pay off. In Urioste they have the perfect man to bolster that ambition.


Enrique Urioste leaves InterBaires to join Duty Free Americas – 03/09/07

Long-time Luxottica executive Martha Rosas assumes Duty Free Americas post in Macau – 24/07/07

Chicago O’Hare T5 re-issues tender for duty free, speciality retail, news & gifts and food & beverage concessions – 20/07/07

BAA Boston and Duty Free Americas prepare to unveil new Terminal E store at Logan Airport – 10/07/07