In all areas of the business we’re seeing growth beyond our forecasts
Diego Arrosa
General Manager
Duty Free Uruguay

URUGUAY. Benefiting from a +79% increase in floor space and the total walkthrough design in both Departures and Arrivals, Duty Free Uruguay has notched a +48% year-on-year increase in revenues to the end of August.

While a +22% increase in passenger numbers assisted in the results, Duty Free Uruguay General Manager Diego Arrosa pointed out that capture rates have lifted by +12% and average spend by +10%, thanks to the improved layout and brand range at the new stores.

“All departing and arriving passengers must now pass through the stores, and in Departures we’ve tuned our layout depending on which side of the store particular passengers will pass through,” he told The Moodie Report.

Passengers on short-haul flights tend to pass down the left side of the Departures store, while long-haul passengers move to the right, so assortments have been arranged to suit their different requirements. “We are constantly interacting with airport management in order to prepare for the flights, depending on nationality and destination,” said Arrosa.

Duty Free Uruguay represents a total of 493 brands at the airport (up +7% from the old terminal) and 19,700 skus (+12%), and has brought in brands such as Hugo Boss and (since 16 June) Victoria’s Secret, Hermès and The Body Shop that are not present in the domestic market.

“We’ve also paid a lot of attention to revising our website, which now offers about 80% of our total products, with much better photos. Anyone with a credit card could purchase at Duty Free Uruguay so long as someone who travels can pick up the purchase,” Arrosa advised.

The new website (, relaunched in mid-August, is delivering an average ticket of US$239, he said.

Passenger growth has been led by Brazilian travellers, who now represent 22% of Duty Free Uruguay’s customers compared to an historical proportion of around 10%.

“Not just with passengers but in all areas of the business we’re seeing growth beyond our forecasts,” he said, adding that close relations with the airport authority had supported the increase in commercial revenues as a percentage of airport income – from under 35% in 2005 to almost 50% now.

At its Punta del Este Airport stores meanwhile, Duty Free Uruguay will complete a partial remodelling by 20 October, in time for the peak summer season (some 70% of sales are made between December and February).

The remodelling aims for better targeting of the increasing numbers of Brazilian tourists, and creates space for more fashion brands including Hugo Boss and Tommy Hilfiger, plus a Nike shop-in-shop.

The total walkthrough design at Montevideo Carrasco Airport has helped to lift capture rates by +12% so far in 2010

Duty Free Uruguay positions brands to appeal to the passenger profile of short-haul or long-haul flights

Fashion and accessories are among the top performers in the new Carrasco Airport stores

Victoria’s Secret (on left) has joined brands such as Hugo Boss and Hermes as exclusives in the Uruguayan market