HMSHost returns to airport retailing by acquiring Stellar Partners

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HMSHost is re-entering the airport retail business with an agreement to purchase the shares of U.S. travel venue retailer Stellar Partners, Inc.

Stellar, which was founded nearly 30 years ago by Susan Stackhouse at Tampa International Airport, currently operates 38 convenience and specialty retail stores in ten airports in the U.S. and has annual revenues of $38 million.

Stellar will become an independent subsidiary of HMSHost, which is part of Autogrill Group. Stellar will remain headquartered in Tampa, FL, with Stellar President and CEO Susan Stackhouse and Senior Vice President and COO Ramon Bosquez continuing to lead the business.

“We are thrilled to be re-entering the airport retail business by bringing Stellar, considered the best small operator in the industry, into the HMSHost family,” said HMSHost President and CEO Steve Johnson. “The expertise Susan and Ramon bring will help us to develop our airport retail business, as well as enhance our existing retail stores in our motorway channel. I have known Susan and Ramon for many years, and very much look forward to working with them to grow Stellar in North American airports and position HMSHost to re-enter this $1.5 billion market.”

“We at Stellar are delighted to be joining the HMSHost family, a world leader in our industry,” said Stackhouse. “I am personally honored that Host has recognized our value, is willing to invest in our future, and will allow the legacy of the Stellar brand to continue. Steve and I have known each other for many years and it is our mutual respect that has brought our companies together. Host’s resources and decades of experience will help Stellar grow and compete, while providing new opportunities for our 250 associates and our talented management team. We look forward to advancing this exciting new alliance to our airport partners and gaining their consent.”

Stellar, as a subsidiary of HMSHost, will continue to operate its 38 locations in such airports as Tampa International Airport, Orlando International Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, Miami International Airport, San Diego International Airport, and Washington Dulles International Airport. Stellar currently operates exclusive brands Stellar News and Stellar Books, as well as other popular brands.

Susan Stackhouse and Stellar Partners have been recognized in the industry with numerous awards, most recently as 2016 Best Overall Retailer and Best News & Gift Operator byAirport Revenue News.

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