Lee Boo-jin, the eldest daughter of Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee, will be bidding for the duty free concession in Los Angeles International Airport as part of an aggressive business expansion.
The Samsung subsidiary Lee runs, Hotel Shilla, is gearing up to participate in an upcoming bid for the LAX duty free business. It is currently run by global luxury retailer DFS, but the contract expires at the end of this year and the U.S. airport is looking for a new operator. A Hotel Shilla spokesman said, "We announced our intention to take part in the bid by attending a session for the tender that was open only to interested parties."
Last year, 8.13 million people passed through LAX, and the duty free shops there generated US$117.5 million in revenues. Korean, Chinese and Japanese accounted for more than 60 percent of customers. There are duty free shops in nine terminals at LAX. The winner of the bid will operate the shops for 10 years starting in January 2013, extendable for up to another three years.
Lotte Duty Free Shop, Hotel Shilla's archrival in the duty free business, is also taking part in the bid, as are other heavyweights like DFS, Dufry Group and Nuance Group. Final bids must be submitted by the end of next month, and the winner will be announced at the end of June.
If Hotel Shilla or Lotte is chosen, the Korean companies will rank among the world's top five duty free operators. Based on 2010 sales, Lotte now ranks sixth and Hotel Shilla 10th.