On location • Duty Free Americas
Eyeing the prize in South America
If you ask the Falic brothers where their most exciting opportunity lies, Brazil tops the list. If pressed, alongside noting the growing airports network, they’ll single out the vast potential of the border trade to the south.
Leon says: “We got into Brazil at a good time when the business was not that strong. Now we just need the currency to return to strength. People there love to shop. We have invested in airports and are growing in the border environment. What we have built is impressive. Our stores are essentially department stores on the border.”
Before November 2018 the company had opened seven stores in the region, on the Uruguay border. Then came a major signal of DFA’s ambition in this region with the opening of Panda Free Shop, which at 10,500sq m is the biggest store in the company’s history.
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It forms part of the extensive Rio Branco Shopping zone on the Brazil-Uruguay border, in which the company is investing US$60 million with a partner.
Panda includes a wide array of retail and other consumer services, including a pharmacy, optics and a money exchange. It has the only national and international bus terminal in the area and an open promenade with gardens and playgrounds, a food court and a car park with capacity for 700 vehicles.
Leon says: “The range is comprehensive, going from US$4 jeans to branded luxury, from bicycles to TVs to camping gear, from wines to gourmet foods.
Panda Free Shop is DFA's largest store anywhere.
“We have built a destination. Others have opened stores but not on this scale. There are only 10,000 people in Rio Branco, but there is a population of three million across the border, within several hours drive. That’s the target.”
After legislation was passed in Brazil to allow border stores on its side of the frontier, potential operators have moved to apply for licences and seek available sites for stores. DFA too has been examining the opportunity, although it could not yet confirm locations at press time.
Brazil is not only about the border though. At airports the company runs duty free, duty paid, news & gifts and food & beverage. F&B is a big opportunity DFA aims to seize, which explains its tie-up with leading global travel restaurateur SSP in Brazil. As reported last year, their joint venture secured contracts worth around US$80 million over nine years at São Paulo Guarulhos and Rio de Janeiro (RIOgaleão – Tom Jobim International Airport).
In travel essentials, DFA paved the way for UK news, books and convenience specialist WHSmith to enter South America with a contract for seven stores at RIOgaleão Tom Jobim International last year.
From premium to mass market goods, Panda Free Shop carries a diverse range across its 10,500sq m of space.
Duty Free Americas and Falic Family Foundation support Children’s Tumor Foundation
Duty Free Americas and the Falic Family Foundation donated US$325,000 to the Children’s Tumor Foundation after a hugely successful charity golf and tennis tournament on 31 January in Miami.
The Moodie Davitt Report took part in the event at Trump National Doral, which attracted around 120 golfers, 20 tennis players and many more from the regional travel retail industry who attended the event, which included a dinner and auction.
DFA CEO Jerome Falic said: “Every year for the past five years of this event we’ve chosen to support a different organisation, whether it’s breast cancer or Miami Children’s Hospital, and each year we have raised more money than the previous one. This year our cause is the Children’s Tumor Foundation, represented by an amazing ambassador for 2019 in McKinnon Galloway.”
The Children’s Tumor Foundation’s mission is to drive research, expand knowledge, and advance care for the community affected by the genetic disorder neurofibromatosis (NF).
Family values: Joseph Falic, Dov Falic, Simon Falic, Jerome Falic and Leon Falic present the US$325,000 donation to Children’s Tumor Foundation Ambassador McKinnon Galloway.
She described how she has gone through 120 days of chemotherapy over a decade, over 50 MRI scans, 26 months of medication to manage epilepsy, two brain surgeries and over 24 hours under the knife, as well as much associated trauma.
“This pain motivated me to share my story. I can lose my hearing, sight, balance and I know my life is on the line. I want to thank the Falic Family Foundation and DFA for their continued suppor
“Your donations allow the Foundation to develop treatments to allow me to stand before you. It can help us research this illness and find a cure, for me and for two million others. This research must continue to help us find a cure.”
The Moodie Davitt Report • The Online Magazine • March 2019