Celebrating 40 years of commerce and conviviality

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The Moodie Report was delighted to attend a lunch last Friday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Travel Retail Consortium, the association of suppliers and distributors to the UK travel retail market. It’s an association that has seen different members come and go, and that has witnessed huge changes to the UK corporate landscape, but over 40 years the Consortium’s focus on fostering friendship and building relationships within the UK industry has remained strong.

That spirit was much in evidence at Friday’s lunch, held at the Altitude restaurant on the 29th floor of London’s Millbank Tower. Against a spectacular backdrop offering uninterrupted views of London’s horizon, leading Consortium members Rupert Firbank, Richard Thorpe and Laurence Wright welcomed guests from across the UK airport, airline and ferry businesses.

In his welcome address Firbank, Regional Sales Director Western Europe and Travel Retail at Accolade Wines, saluted the “fortitude of this business and of its suppliers” as he reflected on the many changes UK travel retail has undergone over the past 40 years. He also praised the Consortium’s ability to adapt to those changes, noting how its membership now reflects the much greater diversity of the industry’s supplier base.

Replying on behalf of the Consortium’s guests, World Duty Free Group Business Relations & External Affairs Director Sarah Branquinho paid tribute to the Consortium’s role in strengthening links between companies, noting: “This business is built on brands, but also on relationships and friendship.”

It’s a sentiment we heartily share as we salute the Consortium for its longevity and continuing contribution to the UK travel retail business, not to mention its sterling work for various charities. Congratulations to all at the Consortium on your 40th anniversary, and here’s to many more.

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