Featured interview: Joe Lyons, Vice President, Business Development, DFS Group North America

By Charlotte Turner |

DFS’ North America’s Vice President, Business Development, Joe Lyons believes that the IAADFS is effectively easing changes to LAGs regulations in the Americas and is doing a good job of both representing and protecting the US airport duty free industry.


Believing the IAADFS Duty Free Show of the Americas to be of great value to the industry, he says: “I am most looking forward to the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with members of the Industry including suppliers, competitors, and other attendees.


“The informal exchanges offer the chance to identify and discuss issues in common, trends, explore new opportunities or approaches and discuss potential regulatory issues that can impact the duty free industry.”


He believes that the IAADFS needs to continue to keep IAADFS members abreast of changes and developments in regulations. “This was done recently through a Webinar detailing the change and relaxing of the rules regarding the sale and packaging of LAGs to passengers connecting through EU and other countries.”



He also called for the close monitoring of various global initiatives, which represent threats to the duty free and travel retail business – including the restriction on products such as tobacco, packaging (eg the elimination of plastic bags) or restrictive rules/regulations which limit the free flow of commerce such as the reduction of duty free allowances.



Above: Joe Lyons contributed to a debate on the Americas market for the TRBusiness Forum last year.


When asked by TRBusiness what more could be done to promote duty free in North America – see ARI’s John Bolger’s comments – he responded: “While awareness of the duty free industry remains at a relatively low level within the US, we believe the IAADFS is doing a good job of both representing and protecting the US airport duty free industry.


“The IAADFS has developed a good working relationship with ACI in the Americas by actively promoting the generation of non-aviation revenue concession fees which reduce airport operating costs.”


In 2013 DFS Group saw the completion of new facilities in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York (JFK) – including the addition of a considerable amount of new space, new brands, expanded product assortments and major advances in in-store advertising and point of sale technology.



“During 2013, DFS upgraded over 95% of its North American retail space. The last of these to be completed is SFO where the Group just opened the last of our major general merchandise stores in late February,” adds Lyons.


[Left: DFS Group beauty store at LAX.]


“We are anticipating a good year in 2014 in large part due to the completion of new and expanded facilities in the airports in which we have operations.


“We’re seeing improved performance across all categories. Beauty, especially skin care, remains a strong performer; food has been performing very well as has spirits and wine.”


Lyons calls for stability in all areas impacting international travel and tourism – including aviation safety and security, world health and stable international currency valuations. He also hopes that the industry can benefit from the continued relaxation of visa requirements and /or regulations that support growth in international travel.

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