World Duty Free Chooses Orlando for U.S. Headquarters

Global duty free retailer opts for Orlando, Fla. over other major U.S. cities
By: Consensus Communications
Aug. 23, 2011 - PRLog -- World Duty Free, Inc., a global leader in airport duty free retail, has announced that its U.S. operations are to be headquartered in Orlando, Fla.  The company, WDF-US, is part of the Italian-based Autogrill Group (Milan: AGL IM), the world’s leading provider of food and beverage and retail services for travelers.

“WDF’s selecting Orlando brings great business and job-growth potential to Central Florida, and I am excited that Florida has won this opportunity,” said Florida Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope, who serves as president & CEO of Enterprise Florida, the state’s principal economic development organization.  "The choice of Florida as well as Orlando shows that the state’s business environment welcomes headquarters expansions and supports corporate strategies for long-term growth.”

Orlando was selected after an extensive national search of major U.S. duty free markets, including Atlanta. Orlando’s status as a world-class destination, in addition to its convenient location for international business and its collaborative business environment were among the factors that drove WDF’s decision to locate in Florida. They did this without any economic incentives from local or state government. As they continue to develop their business through current retail locations and by acquiring new sites throughout the US, the duty free leader will create new jobs and opportunities in its Orlando H.Q.

“We are happy that World Duty Free has decided to locate its headquarters in Orlando,” said Rick L. Weddle, president and CEO of the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission. “We look forward to supporting them in any way we can and are pleased they have chosen to expand their involvement in the community by becoming investors in the EDC.”

WDF-US, located less than one mile to the west of the Orlando International Airport near the intersection of McCoy Road and Orange Avenue, currently employs more than 100 corporate and retail employees in Orlando. WDF-US is currently hiring several senior management positions at its Orlando headquarter office.

The formation of the new U.S. company will create approximately 5-10 new jobs at the Orlando H.Q, and will create dozens of retail positions at each store where they locate a retail outlet and with further associated support roles at its headquarters.

WDF-US won the duty free concessions contract at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), one of the world’s busiest airports. Duty free retail operations are currently open at the international terminal in Concourse E.

Through the acquisition of Alpha Airport Services, WDF-US has taken over duty free retail operations at the Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB), and will continue to operate those locations through their current contracts under WDF-US management. The Orlando International Airport contract is a joint venture with local businessman Brady Keys, Jr.

“In this economy, we are pleased that we will not only bring new jobs to Central Florida but will also retain the current jobs in our retail locations and corporate operations,” said WDF-US CEO Antoni Felany. “We are pleased to bring our talents and skills to the Central Florida landscape and look to collaborate on a more prosperous economy.”

Felany will also be headquartered in Orlando. A seasoned veteran in the retail industry, he has held several leadership posts within the Autogrill Group, most recently spearheading WDF efforts in Canada. He has also held posts in Spain, Jordan, and South America.

Felany says the decision to establish U.S. operations in Orlando was the first in a series of strategic moves to become America’s leading provider of airport duty free locations. The company plans to embark on an aggressive campaign to win concessions contracts at the largest U.S. airports, including LAX, Chicago, and JFK.

Photos and videos of the announcement are available upon request.

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World Duty Free, Inc., is a global leader in airport duty free retail headquartered in Orlando, Fla. WDF is part of the Italian-based Autogrill Group (Milan: AGL IM), the world’s leading provider of food and beverage and retail services for travelers.
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Tags:World Duty Free, Airport Retail, Travel Retail, Duty Free, Airport Duty Free, Airport Concessions, Orlando, US airports
Industry:Retail, Travel, Shopping
Location:Orlando - Florida - United States
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Page Updated Last on: Aug 23, 2011

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