Top Brands drives big duty free projects in LATAM

By Luke Barras-hill |

Luryx Duty Free store in Paraguay.

Panama’s Top Brands International is accelerating its airport and land border duty free expansion plans as it seeks to build on a 2019 that surpassed expectations.

The retailer – which currently operates around 100 stores at airports, land borders, cruise ports and downtown malls across 16 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean – is eyeing the unveiling of a 1,000sq m walkthrough shop trading under the Luryx Duty Free fascia at Paraguay’s Silvio Petirossi International Airport in Asunción.

Currently under construction, it is anticipated the store will open by May.

Top Brands inked a 10-year duty free concession in January 2020 to manage retail units at the airport, but progress was put on hold as the global health situation deteriorated.

Danny Yohoros, President, Top Brands International.

GAINS IN CHILE

Speaking to TRBusiness in an interview available in the March/April e-zine, Danny Yohoros, President, Top Brands International, says the company is now ‘fully engaged’ in pursuing new developments.

In Chile’s Punta Arenas, a city situated in the south of the Patagonia region, plans are progressing to open a duty free shopping centre close to the border with Argentina.

Commenting on the pace of recovery across the business, Yohoros said: “Overall, the results have been much better than expected. We were expecting recovery in 2023/2024. The reality is last year, we were flat versus 2019.”

Like most multi-channel retailers, Top Brands’ commercial activities at airports were dealt the harshest blow in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, though some of the company’s airport locations recovered faster than others.

At the borders, it has been a different story as Yohoros explained: “We’ve been amazed and surprised at how well the return has been.

“At many borders in 2021, we were much above 2019. It beat our expectations. The border with Uruguay has been delayed more due to the [Covid] situation in Brazil, but even when it opened, we had extremely good results.”

Elsewhere, Yohoros says the evolution of the rebranded Neutral by Luryx business, which followed the acquisition of Uruguay’s Neutral Duty Free in 2019, is gathering speed.

The acquisition of Neutral Duty Free was finalised in 2019.

Headed by experienced industry executive Marcelo Montico as CEO, Neutral by Luryx bolsters Top Brands’ reputation as a major operator across South America.

“Now, everything is back running, and Neutral has become very solid and established, we’re ready to roll,” added Yohoros.

For more on Top Brands International and Neutral by Luryx, see the March/April e-zine by clicking here.

Main image: Luryx Duty Free store in El Salvador.

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