A global company
World Duty Free Group is one of the leading groups in the world airport retailing market. It was created after the Autogrill Group, the 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.
Today we have over 260 stores at 67 locations, in 16 countries across 4 continents worldwide.
Aldeasa began retailing in Spanish airports in 1976. Alpha Airport Shopping has had a presence in airports in the UK in different guises since the very early days of airport retailing in 1955, while World Duty Free was founded by BAA to run tax and duty free operations in all its airports in the UK.
During the eighties early nineties, Aldeasa expanded and diversified, with international stores opening in South America and the creation of Palacios y Museos to manage shops in palaces, museums and cultural institutions in Spain. Alpha Airport Shopping continued to expand its operations within the UK, and World Duty Free was founded as new stores and concepts such as Glorious Britain, Perfume Gallery and World of Whiskies were created to offer specialist service and product ranges to customers.
In the decade following the abolition of duty free within the EU in 1999, the three separate businesses, Aldeasa, Alpha and World Duty Free, were acquired by the Italian company Autogrill S.p.A. the world’s leading provider of food & beverage and travel retail services to travelling customers. After acquiring Aldeasa (50% in 2005 and the remaining 50% in 2008) and World Duty Free (2008), Autogrill Group started a process to integrate them with the Alpha Group Travel Retail division (acquired in 2007). Integration of the retail business in the UK having been completed, the sector’s management was unified in 2010 and a further stage of integration, also involving organisation, processes and systems, was embarked upon to create a single, consolidated operator at international level. This process led to the set up in 2011 of the new World Duty Free Group, which controls all Autogrill Group’s Travel Retail & Duty Free business.