Broward County, Fla., to Hear Airport Retail Pitches

A Broward County selection committee will hear presentations today and choose a top contender among four major concession companies that have submitted proposals for Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport's news and gift shops.

Three of the bidders have ties to Miami International Airport, in what could be the first cross-border infiltration of concessionaires. The bidding, geared to bring new national brands and more variety to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, marks the first time the airport has put its news and gift contract up for grabs in more than two decades. The contract, which may be split in two, covers the vast majority of retail shops at the airport.

The groups, each of which has additional minority partners, include:

--Hudson, a major airport concessionaire that is teaming up with ex-Sirgany executive Raymond Kayal Jr. and local businessman, lawyer and former MIA lobbyist Christopher Korge. Together, they have one store at MIA, and Hudson has four others there. Kayal and Korge also own Newslink, which separately operates shops at MIA and Boston's Logan International Airport.

--HMSHost, another large company, which just was awarded a contract to expand at MIA.

--AREAS, a Barcelona-based company that operates throughout Europe and Latin America, has a new food and beverage contract at MIA and wants to make further inroads in the United States.

--Paradies, a large concessionaire that has held the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood contract since 1984 and is offering a hefty minimum annual guarantee to stay at all four terminals.

Copyright: The Miami Herald -- 12/5/06

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