As we close out the year, TMI is very pleased to present an in-depth Special Report on one of the most exciting travel retail projects that began operations in the Americas in 2015. The US$70 million Melancia Mall - the largest shopping complex in Northern Uruguay- opened its doors in the border town of Rivera in early November, despite one of the most difficult business and political environments in many years, not to mention weather delays that set the project back more than a year.
But open it did, and we send congratulations to the two major anchor stores in the Mall – Neutral Duty Free and Grupo Wisa’s La Riviera Duty Free, both of which created open, inviting state-of-the-art retail emporiums designed to offer Brazilian and Argentine visitors a new and innovative shopping experience never seen before on this border.
Carlos Loaiza, the Secretary General of the Chamber of Free Shops of Uruguay (CEFSU), praises ‘the major investment’ from Neutral and Grupo Wisa, which, he says, “clearly shows a great long term commitment to Uruguay and the border duty free business.” Loaiza concluded that, as a result of their investments, they are both “well positioned to grow the business when the cycle begins to improve.”
TMI‘s John Gallagher visited Rivera a few weeks after the official opening to meet with the retailers, tour the facilities and report on the initial response from shoppers and operators to the ground-breaking project. His Special Report follows.