More overseas expansion after MEL win, says Lotte

By Luke Barras-hill |

Dufry’s tenure as duty free operator at MEL will conclude at the end of May. Source: Shutterstock.

Lotte Duty Free and Melbourne Airport (MEL) have issued official statements after the awarding of the duty free contract to the former, as reported by TRBusiness on Friday.

The South Korean travel retail juggernaut beat off stiff competition in an open tender to secure a 10-year concession, ratified by MEL’s Board, at the airport’s international terminal to begin on 1 June 2023.

Lotte will command a commercial presence across 3,600sq m and will take over from current incumbent Dufry on 31 May.

Ju Nam Kim, the new CEO of Lotte Duty Free, commented: “Lotte Duty Free’s Melbourne Airport store will be a focal point for further overseas expansion and recovery. With successful operation of the store, Lotte Duty Free will step up to be a leading travel retailer in the Oceania region.”

Lotte Duty Free Oceania CEO Steve Timms said: “Lotte is thrilled to be selected to partner with Melbourne Airport. Together we will bring a new level of excitement to the duty free experience both in store and online by delivering the world’s most unique and interactive retail experiences.”

Ju Nam Kim, CEO, Lotte Duty Free.

Lotte ‘impressed against bid criteria’

Melbourne Airport Chief of Commercial Property and Retail Andrew Gardiner had spoken at length to this publication about the competitiveness of the tender.

As TRBusiness first revealed, a shortlist of three leading operators were drawn up after a highly competitive bid process following the issuing of the RFP last year.

Adding his comments, Gardiner thanked Pedro Castro, Philippe Boyer and the team at Dufry for a ‘wonderful partnership’ spanning more than 30 years and said he looked forward to working with Steve Timms and Lotte Oceania to ‘totally transform’ the duty free experience at MEL.

“This is the first time we have changed duty free operators in 30 years, and we’re thrilled to have selected Lotte Duty Free. We were privileged to receive submissions from six of the largest and most well-respected duty free retailers in the world.

“The quality of submissions showed their exceptionally high standards, but, ultimately, there can only be one winner, with Lotte offering a new store which mirrors the look and feel of Melbourne, with a sense of place that placed their proposal on the ‘top shelf’.

“Clearly, having been closed for almost two years due to Covid, financials were an important attribute, but just as important is the ability to offer our customers a thrilling shopping experience, through exciting duty free exclusives, competitive pricing and excellent customer service. Lotte convinced us of their ability to deliver against all the major criteria that we set in the bid process.

“With international travel back to above 70% of pre-Covid levels, now is a great time to be in the international terminal at Melbourne Airport, exploring the incredible range of brands we have across multiple product categories.”

To read more about MEL’s recent commercial activity, click here.

Lead image: Lotte Duty Free’s recently opened downtown store in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Middle East

MEADFA Conference 2024 ‘heading to Abu Dhabi on 17-19 November’

This year’s Middle East & Africa Duty Free Association (MEADFA) Conference will take...


DFWC Q1 2024 KPI Monitor indicates rise in duty free impulse purchases

Impulse purchasing within global duty free is on the rise, according to the latest Duty Free...

Asia & Pacific

Avolta details “bold and ambitious” goals to grow its APAC business

With a number of key developments coming to fruition, including its operations at Wuhan Tianhe...

image description

In the Magazine

TRBusiness Magazine is free to access. Read the latest issue now.

E-mail this link to a friend