Duty-free shopping at Los Angeles International Airport

Hotel Shilla Co., a South Korean luxury hotel and resort operator, plans to bid for the right to run all duty-free shopping at Los Angeles International Airport, industry sources said Tuesday.

The duty-free shopping area at the airport, more commonly known as LAX, covers 3,716 square meters and is operated by Hong Kong-based DFS Group.

“LAX operators have said they will open bidding for the right to run the duty free business for 10 years starting in January 2013, with the winner to be selected in June,” said an industry insider on condition of anonymity.

Besides Shilla, which is part of the giant Samsung Group, seven other companies including DFS, Dufry Group and Duty Free America are eying the deal.

The winning bidder will operate all duty-free shops at the busy air terminal that serviced around 8.13 million passengers last year, with an option to extend the contract for a further three years. In 2011, sales from the airport’s duty free shops reached US$ 117.54 million.

If Hotel Shilla wins the bid, it will likely become the world’s fifth-largest duty-free shop operator by late 2013.

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