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The Moodie Report is in Atlanta, Georgia, for one of the more significant travel retail openings of recent times.
Tomorrow at noon, Aldeasa will formally inaugurate its new duty free shop at the city’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport – the world’s busiest airport in terms of total passenger numbers.
It’s a big moment for the Spanish travel retailer. Atlanta represents Aldeasa’s travel retail debut in the US (though not in North America as it already operates in Vancouver, Canada) and the company hopes this contract will form an important bridgehead for further growth.
Additionally, the opening is the first major public event since parent company Autogrill’s travel retail portfolio was expanded with the recent addition of World Duty Free to its ranks. The Italian travel retailer-to-caterer now owns Aldeasa, Alpha Group and World Duty Free as well as food & beverage and retail company HMSHost – the latter was the former duty free retailer here in Atlanta.
With the £546.6 million World Duty Free acquisition having closed last month, the integration of the Autogrill portfolio is underway. In the US that’s a relatively simple exercise with Alpha’s retail operations at Orlando International and Sanford airports in Florida becoming part of an integrated Aldeasa-led operation here. Rod Wiltshire and his team have done an excellent job in growing the business in Florida and the fit looks a nice one. The balance of the integration – in the UK between World Duty Free and Alpha, and internationally between Aldeasa, the dominant international force in the portfolio, and Alpha – will take shape over coming weeks.
The Moodie Report is taking a preview tour of the new store later today and we’ll report back via the Blog and on The Moodie Report.com on how things are looking. Tomorrow we’ll take to Aldeasa CEO Jose-Maria Palencia about his ambitions for Atlanta and beyond. It’s exciting times for Atlanta, for Aldeasa and for the industry.