World Duty Free

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World Duty Free
Type Società per azioni
Traded as BITWDF
Industry Retail, Consumer Services
Founded 2013 (2013)
Headquarters Novara, Italy
Key people Gianmario Tondato da Ruos (Chairman)
José María Palencia Saucedo (CEO)
Revenue 2 billion (2013)[1]
Employees 8,500

World Duty Free SpA, the holding company of World Duty Free Group, is an Italy-based multinational travel retailer that employs almost 8,500 people.[2] Since 1 October 2013, the company is a constituent of the FTSE MIB index with the ticker symbol WDF:IM.



World Duty Free Group was created after the Autogrill Group, the old parent company, acquired and integrated the business lines of Aldeasa, World Duty Free and Alpha Group, which were complementary in terms of market segment and geographical regions.[3]

Aldeasa began retailing in Spanish airports in 1976.[4] Alpha Airport Shopping has had a presence in airports in the United Kingdom in different guises since the very early days of airport retailing in 1955,[5] while World Duty Free was founded by Heathrow Airport Holdings (BAA) to run tax and duty free operations in all its airports in the United Kingdom.

Expansion and consolidation[edit]

In the decade following the abolition of duty free within the EU in 1999, the three separate businesses, Aldeasa, Alpha and World Duty Free Europe, were acquired by the Italian company Autogrill S.p.A. After acquiring Aldeasa (50% in 2005 and the remaining 50% in 2008) and World Duty Free Europe(2008), Autogrill Group started a process to integrate them with the Alpha Group Travel Retail division (acquired in 2007).[6] This process led to the set up in 2011 of the new World Duty Free Group, which controlled all Autogrill Group’s Travel Retail and Duty Free business. The company became one global organization in 2011, formed of European airport retailers Aldeasa and WDF, and the experience in the industry dates back to the 1950s.[7]

On September 2013, Autogrill completed the transfer of the US Travel Retail Division from HMS and its subsidiarie Host International to WDFG.[8]

Demerger and listed[edit]

On 6 June 2013, the Shareholders of Autogrill approved the project of proportional partial demerger whereby Autogrill S.p.A. transferred the Travel Retail and Duty Free business to its wholly owned subsidiary World Duty Free S.p.A. (parent company of World Duty Free Group), the beneficiary, by assigning to the latter the entire shareholding in the Group’s Travel Retail and Duty Free business.[8]

On 30 August 2013 World Duty Free S.p.A. filed an application for the listing of its ordinary shares on the Mercato Telematico Azionario (electronic stock market) organized and managed by Borsa Italiana S.p.A.[9] On 1 October 2013, World Duty Free has listed on the Borsa Italia in Milan, marking the culmination of the demerger process from parent group Autogrill.[8]

World Duty Free Group[edit]

World Duty Free Group operates in more than 500 stores and duty-free shops in 21 countries across 5 continents.[10] It is present with a substantial international presence in the European airport retail heartlands of Spain and United Kingdom and in the Middle East, North America, Latin America.[11]

It sells a variety of products including liquor, skincare, fragrance, cosmetics, confectionery, food, tobacco, accessories and souvenirs.

In November 2013, World Duty Free Group won the tender to operate 11 stores at Helsinki Vantaa Airport – the retailer’s first business in the Nordic region. Thanks to it, WDFG operates four duty free and duty paid store, including two walkthrough shops, offering the core categories of beauty, liquor, tobacco and confectionery. The group operates around 2,500sq m for the core categories.[12] It also operates seven specialty stores, totaling approximately 600sq m, focused on luxury product categories. WDFG operations started at Helsinki Airport in March 2014. The first of the newly renovated shops will open in 2015.[13]


  1. ^ "WDFG revenue +11.6% in early 2014 following 'transformational' year | Article". Frontier Magazine. 2014-03-10. Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  2. ^ "Business Channels". World Duty Free Group. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  3. ^ "Centre for Air Transport and the Environment - Clients". Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  4. ^ "Es mucho mas". Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  5. ^ "Alpha Airports Group PLC: Information from". Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  6. ^ "Regulation merger Procedure - Case No. COMP/M.5123 - Autogrill / World Duty Free". Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  7. ^ Newhouse, Doug (2012-02-28). "World Duty Free Group launches new branding". Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  8. ^ a b c "Autogrill SpA (AGL.MI) Quote". Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  9. ^ "Autogrill: the proportional partial demerger project for the Travel Retail & Duty Free business was approved". Reuters. 2013-06-06. Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  10. ^ "World Duty Free Profile". Financial Times. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "Where we are". World Duty Free Group. Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  12. ^ "World Duty Free Group wins Helsinki contract". Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  13. ^ "World Duty Free Group makes major Nordic breakthrough at Helsinki". Retrieved 2014-05-14. 

External links[edit]