London Supply readies its duty free store in Argentina’s southern free zone


A brighter economic outlook for Argentina means potentially sunnier days for the country’s duty free and travel retail trade and at least one industry leader is moving ahead with its own plans for growth and expansion in the country.

The photo gives an aerial view of London Supply’s duty free complex, now under construction in Rio Gallegos in southern Argentina

London Supply is well along on construction of a new duty free retail complex in the Rio Gallegos free zone in southern Argentina’s Patagonia and a heightened focus on its successful “retailtainment” strategy at its store in the Puerto Iguazú free zone,  near the world-famous Iguazu Falls on the Argentine-Brazilian border.  

“Tourism is always something worth developing and we try to do this,” said Magdalena Ducos, London Supply’s Commercial Director, in a recent interview with The Americas Duty Free & Travel Retailing. “And in the case of the duty free (business) we try to put ourselves in places where there is tourism development.”

London Supply is jumping on the bandwagon with its plan to open a duty free store in the Rio Gallegos free zone in Santa Cruz province, that will target Argentine customers, who at least up to now, do a lot of their shopping in neighboring Chile. Currently, Argentines go to the Punta Arenas Free Zone in Chile to take advantage of duty free prices there.

“Our idea is to get people to do their shopping in Argentina,” Ducos said. “We want to be competitive with domestic prices in Chile. We want them (Argentines) to choose for their money to stay in Argentina. “

And London Supply will have a lot to offer Argentina shoppers. Ducos said. The store will fill its shelves with perfumes, cosmetics, sunglasses, luggage, spirits, confectionaries, and electronics, among other items. “The first store will be 1,000 square meters,” she said. “Eventually, we will have another store that is 3,000 square meters (in size).”

London Supply has a 30-year-contract with the state to operate and manage the entire Rio Gallegos Free Zone in addition to its own retail operations there.

Nor is London Supply slacking in terms of its domestic distribution division. Since January, the chain has been distributing Lindt chocolates, as well as other premium gourmet goods.  “We also recently purchased a well-known gourmet store chain in Argentina. We currently have eight stores, projected to 15. “It will be an excellent POS for our new division,” Ducos said.

In the meantime, a London Supply remains just as focused on its showcase store in Puerto Iguazú where creating a memorable consumer experience is the goal. Ducos said the shopping experience is one where visual and aromatic stimuli are present everywhere.  As she described it, the chocolates area has a chocolate fragrance; in the homes area you can smell the coffee; and sporting goods are displayed in a stadium-like setting.

A close-up look at the signage lets customers know they are approaching the London Supply duty free store in Puerto Iguazú

“All our actions aim to put the customer in a good mood when they arrive. We want them to think of going to the duty free store as a stop on their tour,” she said. “The experiences they have make them more likely to buy. But it is really about more than the purchase.”