Los Angeles Business Journal

DFS Gets Staff Nod at LAX

By James Rufus Koren Friday, July 13, 2012

The current operator of duty-free shops at Los Angeles International Airport has been recommended by airport staff to continue in that role over seven competitors.

Staff at Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that runs LAX, awarded a score of 93 out of 100 to DFS, the world’s largest duty-free retailer and a unit of Paris fashion and spirits company LVMH Möet Hennessy Louis Vuitton S.A.

The airport plans to award a 10-year contract for 38,000 square feet of duty-free and duty-paid retail space across all airport terminals, including a 14,000-square-foot shop in the new Tom Bradley International Terminal. Over the 10-year contract term, duty-free sales at LAX could total $2 billion.

The company edged out Nuance Group of Zurich and World Duty Free Group UK Ltd. of Feltham, England, which both scored 91. Other bidders scored between 79 and 89.

The city airport commission could award a new contract to DFS early next month, though protests from any of the other seven bidders could slow the process. Consultants for several bidders told the Business Journal last month that protests are a near certainty.

Bid documents, which were not made available to the Business Journal on Friday, will be available for review by bidding companies until July 19. Bidders, all of whom have retained local law and lobbying firms, have until the end of that day to file a protest with LAWA.

Any protests would be reviewed by City Attorney Carmen Trutanich before the LAWA board can approve a contract.