ATU Americas, World Duty Free Group JV, recommended as duty free concessionaires at Houston airports

The Houston airports may soon be sporting some brand new duty free concessionaires. Turkish-based duty free company ATU Americas, LLC –in its first entry into North America –was recommended for the duty free retail package at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).

World Duty Free Group and joint-venture partner Branch/ McGowen were recommended for the retail and duty free con-cession at the new international terminal at William P. Hobby airport (HOU). WDFG and joint -venture partner The Houston 8 Team have also been recommended as the preferred winner of a retail package at IAH.

HAS sends recommendations to City Council

The Houston Airport System (HAS) last week submitted its formal recommendations to members of Houston City Council for new concessions agreements at both airports. The recommendations cover nine concession packages: three retail, two specialty coffee and two food and beverage packages at IAH and two retail packages at HOU.

WDFG North America, LLC – following oral interviews before the HAS evaluation committee on Feb. 4– is the recommended winner of the IAH Retail Package #1, which consists of 18 locations totaling 16,100sqf with estimated sales of $21 million, according to Houston Airport System documents. Among the key concepts WDFG listed in the HAS presentation for IAH are M.A.C, Quick-silver, local brands Cowboys & Indians, and, plus several newsstand brands.

For the Hobby airport concession, which consists of 7 locations totaling 6,950sqf with estimated sales of $14 million, WDFG listed M.A.C, Desigual,, several news brands and World Duty Free as key concepts.

The HAS evaluation committee recommended a joint venture led by Paradies as the winner of IAH Retail Package #2, consisting of 17 locations totaling 14,800sqf with estimated sales of $21 million. The Paradies JV was also the recommended winner of Retail Package #2 at Hobby Airport, which consists of 14 locations covering 7,100sqf with estimated sales of $14 million. Among the key concepts listed for the Paradies JV were KPRC, Dylan’s, Brook-stone, SPANX, Brooks Brothers, Tumi, Corsa and others.
Package #3 at IAH, comprising 8 locations of 7,400sqf with estimated sales of $21 million, went to ATU Americas and joint-venture partner Air Ventures. Turkish-based ATÜ Duty Free is a joint venture between TAV Airports Holding and Unifree, in which Gebr Heinemann is major share-holder and principal supplier, according to the company website. ATU Americas listed a Duty Free Wall Shop, Duty Free Shop and Specialty retail as key concepts.

HAS recommended HMSHost and La Trelle’s Galley LP for the two specialty coffee packages. The Food and Beverage packages recommendations went to HMSHost and SSP America.

The current duty free contracts and all the retail at both airports will expire in July 2015, said HAS Director Mario C. Diaz, in a memo to the City Council members.

In his memo, Diaz says that passenger service and minority participation would be key elements of the selection process: “Rent, while important, was not the primary driver in making the selection,” said Diaz. Nevertheless, based on the revenues offered in the proposals, HAS expects the units to generate a combined total of $172 million, almost double the current rent, said the memo.

HAS estimates that the concessions will generate more than $1.5 billion in revenues over the ten-year contracting period. The recommendations must now be approved by the Houston City Council.