Mortensen urges WDF to keep the 'faith'

27 August, 2008
Page 14 
The head of Maxxium Global Travel Retail has expressed hope that the new owner of World Duty Free will continue the UK travel retailer's long-standing commitment to the liquor category.

It was announced last month that WDF, which owns 67 shops at seven UK airports, including London Heathrow and Gatwick, is to be sold by Ferrovial, the Spanish owner of its parent company BAA.

With the overall liquor and wine category accounting for about a fifth of the company's total turnover, WDF is one of the UK's largest sellers of malt whisky and Champagne.

Commenting on the implications of the sale, MGTR president Erik Juul-Mortensen told DI: "I hope that a new owner, whoever that will be, will share some of the values which are driving the liquor business at WDF.

"At a time when some operators were putting less emphasis on spirits, WDF showed its faith in the category through the ultimate liquor store concept at Heathrow Terminal 4. It proved successful and has been taken forward to other [Heathrow] terminals.

"There is clear understanding on the part of WDF of putting the customer first," he added. "There is also a policy of building strong supplier partnerships through a very challenging, but fair, co-operation, transparency through information sharing and the constant investment in stores."

With its prime airport locations, high footfall and healthy financial state, the WDF sale is expected to generate high levels of industry interest. The acquisition is expected to be completed by mid-2008.