International retail chain Rouge Duty Free inaugurated a new Caribbean store at the end of March, reflecting the company’s confidence of a strong future in the region.
Rouge Duty Free St. Croix, a 1,400sq ft shop located in Orange Glove Plaza, Christiansted, has the largest fragrance and skincare assortment on the island. The store also has a Montblanc corner boutique, Furla handbags leather corner and a spa cabin for exclusive skincare brands Valmont and Cellcosmet.
Rouge Duty Free St. Croix is the company’s second location in the US Virgin Islands, joining a waterfront boutique on the waterfront road in Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas.
The largest duty free operator in Grenada, Rouge Duty Free is part of the Diffupar/Perfumerias Rouge Group, which is based on Argentina and operates 53 stores across the Americas.
Rouge Duty Free also operates full duty free stores at the airport and Port Louis luxury mega-yacht marina, in addition to downtown perfumeries.
Raymond Kattoura, Director of Purchasing/Operation at Rouge Duty Free said: “Rouge Duty Free St. Croix is the luxury shopping destination for St. Croix. The gala opening on 26 March 2021 was a red-carpet reception attended by VIPs, socialites, influencers and bloggers from the Island, who received hand-delivered invitations.”
POSITIVE EARLY RESPONSE
Kattoura, whose company Duty Free & Travel Retail Group Inc. helps manage the business for Rouge Duty Free Retail Caribe, which owns the new store added: “Guests enjoyed a ‘full moon Cruzan evening,’ with local music, open bar and local bites. The reception was held indoors and outside, due to the Covid-19 protocols in place.
“The new store has been well received by the local population, who have embraced it from day one. We have been extremely successful with the local markets in the Caribbean, where we have mixed luxury with lifestyle and practicality. This is what makes our stores stand out.”
Rouge believes there is growing potential for retail in St. Croix. Kattoura commented: “St. Croix was formerly a top luxury destination in the Caribbean, with stores featuring French and Italian fashion and brands such as Montblanc. Other top names also lined the streets in town.
“Unfortunately, the island passed through a hard period due to hurricanes and other elements, meaning most of this was lost. The neighboring islands took advantage of the void and grabbed the tourism and investors.”
The tide, however, is changing again, emphasised Kattoura. “St Croix’s economy is on a fast rebound. With the re-opening of the refinery, a surge in tourism and corporate investors, the island is heading for success one more time. Several celebrities call St. Croix there home away from home including President Biden.
“Rouge will be opening additional doors in East and West St. Croix to be able to serve the entire island,” he concluded.