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Plenty to work and hope for, says TFWA president
Published:  04 October, 2017

Juul-Mortensen said thanks to the efforts of the UK Travel Retail Forum, ETRC, its national associations and its member companies, progress is being made to ensure that a duty free regime between the UK and EU will be restored. There is, however, a long way to go and a united approach is required.

He said: “We can achieve much when we work as one industry. When we defend one product category, we are fighting to defend the entire industry. Similarly when we promote the benefits of duty free shopping in one location, we help drive awareness of the business across the world.

“It is as one industry too that we need to relieve the pressure we have created on the business model between brands, retailers, and landlords that, at its worst, leads to unsustainable commercial agreements between this trinity. We all appreciate the power of the airport retail environment to bring brands to a cosmopolitan audience and, in doing so, it plays a huge role in delivering sales for retailers and brands. Turnover is not the issue; margins are,” he said.

Demands on retailers are often unrealistic, he said. “There is so much being done right in this industry, yet we are still failing to ensure that the cost and reward of a presence in this industry are shared appropriately. I am not necessarily saying that the principles of the concession model are wrong. But I am saying that, in many cases, the concession terms need to be more fairly balanced if we are to meet the reasonable expectations of all parties.”

In conclusion, Juul-Mortensen said that there is a lot to hope and work for in the years ahead, and over those years there will continue to be external factors beyond the industry’s control that will have an impact. So, said Juul-Mortensen, the industry has to keep on working on what it can control.

“We have to take our destiny into our own hands. To paraphrase the great 19th century American orator William Jennings Bryan, “Destiny is not a thing to be waited for. It is a thing to be achieved,” concluded TFWA president Juul-Mortensen.

(Based on the TFWA’s summary of president Erik Juul-Mortensen’s opening speech)