Duty Free Americas Receives Recommendation for Miami Airport Deal

Duty Free Americas, a Hollywood firm with stores at 12 U.S. airports, and whose parent company owns French designer label Christian Lacroix, will likely be the next operator of Miami International Airport's tax-free stores.


Siboney Wine & Spirits Merchants is owned by Miami resident Jaime Alonso, who has been a wholesaler of wines and liquor to the Caribbean and Latin America for 10 years.

Neither has had business ties to MIA.

Duty Free Americas will own 70 percent of the Miami airport contract, Concourse Concessions, 20 percent, and Siboney 10 percent.

The firm's proposal promises to top the existing duty-free stores' revenue. The current operator's eight stores last year generated $38.8 million in revenue, or $1,861 in revenue per square foot, on 20,937 square feet.

Duty Free Americas projects it will boost revenue on its 12 stores to $85 million, on 35,841 square feet -- or $2,372 per square foot -- by 2008. By 2015, it projects $118 million in revenue.

''Miami airport has a strong Latin base, and Europeans,'' Falic said. ''And we're going to gear our merchandise and sales staff to try to accommodate the main customers.''

Duty-free shoppers will find stores outfitted with cosmetics boutiques featuring Estee Lauder, Clinique, Lancome and Christian Dior; luxury boutiques by Hermes, Cartier, Fendi and Ferragamo; and premium liquor boutiques showcasing Jack Daniels, Johnnie Walker and Tanqueray, according to the proposal.

Catering to MIA's special mix of nationalities, the stores will also feature brands that are popular in certain countries, like Cacique rum, Pisco and Heradura tequila, the proposal says.

Eligible Shoppers

Only passengers holding boarding passes on international flights out of Miami can shop at the stores.

The Falic brothers, who each live in Bal Harbour, primarily made their money in the perfume business. Simon Falic was a co-founder and at one time chairman of discount perfume retailer Perfumania, which was also founded by his brother-in-law Ilia Lekach. Falic was also a large shareholder of Fort Lauderdale fragrance manufacturer Parlux Fragrances, which Lekach heads as chairman. Falic said he is no longer a shareholder of either company and no longer has business ties with Lekach.

Falic was familiar with Duty Free Americas' company's predecessor, because Parlux had been a vendor to the south border stores of Duty Free International for several years. In October 2001, the Falic brothers bought Duty Free International, and renamed it Duty Free Americas. In November 2003, they moved the company from Glen Burnie, Md., to Hollywood.

In fiscal year 2005, Duty Free Americas generated $13 million in profit on $354.2 million in revenue. Of that, $98 million in revenue came from airport duty-free stores, according to financial statements in the proposal.

In addition to Duty Free Americas, the Falic Group bought French couturier Christian Lacroix in January from LVMH. The company also bought cosmetic labels Urban Decay and Hard Candy in 2002. The duty-free stores will sell items from those brands, as well as Christian Lacroix accessories like ties and scarves, Falic said.

''They have done a phenomenal job in the industry since they have moved into the business,'' said Lois Pasternak, editor and publisher of Travel Markets Insider, of Duty Free Americas. ''The industry thinks extremely highly of them.''

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