By  on June 10, 2008

LONDON — Autogrill, which acquired World Duty Free Europe and Aldeasa in March, as well as Alpha Group last year, is preparing for its travel-retailing business to take off with a reorganization plan.

World Duty Free and Alpha Group's U.K. retail division, which together generated sales of 565 million pounds, or $1.13 billion at average exchange, in 2007, will become a single entity headed by Mark Riches, chief executive officer of World Duty Free.

Alpha Group's international retail business Alpha Retail Asia and Alpha Retail U.S. will be overseen by Aldeasa ceo Jose Maria Palencia. Revenues from those businesses totaled 880 million euros, or $1.76 billion, last year.

Further details of the restructuring will be unveiled at an investor day in July.

Autogrill forecasts the reorganization of the businesses will deliver synergies resulting in annual savings of about 40 million euros, or $78.8 million, by 2011.

Together, Aldeasa, Alpha Group and World Duty Free generate annual revenues in the region of 1.7 billion euros, or $3.4 billion.

London's Simple:Spa Closed

British mass market brand Simple's flagship spa has been shuttered.

Venture capitalist-backed Accantia, which owns Simple, closed Simple:Spa in Covent Garden here on May 30.

"We are all aware how uncertain the current economic climate is, and although we believe the mainstream economy will weather the storm, we are concerned that certain niche sectors are likely to be more vulnerable to an economic downturn," the company stated.

"This is especially true for retail businesses such as the Spa, which have high overheads and are dependent on discretionary consumer spend. The high costs specifically associated with the Covent Garden site exposed it to risk, and so we are taking the measure of closing the site as a matter of prudence."

The company stated it plans to reconfigure its business model and may open one or more spas elsewhere "in due course," likely in other regions of the U.K.

When Accantia launched Simple:Spa in 2006, plans had called for up to 30 spa openings in the U.K. within five years.

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