Top Brands looks to grow in the Caribbean, while it continues to expand in Colombia


Since it acquired Miami-based Image Duty Free, Top Brands International’s presence has grown. These images are from one of its stores in the Bahamas

Panama-based Top Brands International has an eye on the Caribbean since its acquisition last year of Miami-based Image Duty Free.

Company President Danny Yohoros told Americas Duty Free & Travel Retailing that the company is looking to establish a greater presence in the Bahamas and other Caribbean islands this year.

“We are looking at new opportunities in the Caribbean in terms of downtown duty free and airports,” Yohoros said, particularly in the Bahamas where the Baha Mar Resort, which is to officially open some of its amenities April 21, is grabbing attention.

Yohoros said when the US$4.2 billion project with its 2,300 rooms and 100,000 square-foot casino means lots of opportunities for travel retailers, both on and off site as more tourists are expected to flow to the Bahamas.

Through Image Duty Free, which maintains its identity as part of the deal, Top Brands already has a presence in the Bahamas, which it plans to grow.

“Today we are primarily in cosmetics and perfumes,” Yohoros said. “We are looking to open more stores and bigger stores and expand our categories (of products)”.

Yohoros described the Top Brands acquisition of Image Duty Free as “a strategic purchase to expand into the Caribbean and the border between the US and Mexico. We are really happy with this purchase and we are seeing results coming up.

At present, through its purchase of Image Duty Free, Top Brands has seven points of sale in the Bahamas; two at the Marathon Mall in Nassau, three at cruise ship terminals in Nassau and Freeport, one at another downtown location, and another store at the Atlantis Beach Tower.

“The Caribbean is new with Image Duty Free,” he said. ”Before we weren’t in the Caribbean. But of course our presence in Latin America is much stronger.”

That’s evident in Colombia, where Top Brands is continuing to expand its new Escentia chain of stores. The chain already has two stores in Bogota and in the Castillo mall in Cartagena. Two more stores are to open in Medellin and at a new Bogota mall in May giving the company five stores in that South American nation.

In an earlier interview, Yohoros said Top Brands expects to open between ten and 15 stores in Colombia in 2017 and projects to have 50 stores there in four years.