LVMH NAMES NEFF AT SOLSTICE, EXTENDS DUTY-FREE FRANCHISE
Byline: Janet Ozzard
NEW YORK — LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton has named Helen Neff to head Solstice, its sunglasses retail business that is part of its selective distribution group.
As president and chief executive officer, Neff will oversee the expansion of Solstice, a retail concept launched by LVMH that currently has three stores — in Orlando, Fla., Paramus, N.J., and Charlotte, N.C. Three more are scheduled to open shortly, in Los Angeles’s Glendale Galleria, at Tysons Corner, Va., and in Valley Fair near San Jose, Calif.
Neff has been at the selective distribution group since 1999 as senior vice president of merchandising and marketing, where she worked on the startup of the Solstice concept. She started her career at DFS, the travel retail chain, in 1976.
LVMH purchased a majority stake in DFS in 1997.
In her new role, Neff reports to David Suliteanu, president and ceo of Sephora AAP, also part of LVMH’s selective distribution group. According to a company statement, this will allow “the two organizations, which are both headquartered in San Francisco, to benefit from shared experience and select support services.”
In other news at the company, DFS has extended its exclusive duty-free retail concession at Honolulu International Airport, which it has held for 39 years. Under the terms of the new concession, DFS will pay $60 million per year or a stipulated percent of sales, whichever is higher, for each of the five years of the concession.
Finally, Groupe Arnault, the family holding of LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault, is out of the bidding war for a third-generation mobile phone license.
As reported, Groupe Arnault has a 6 percent stake in a consortium made up of French utilities group Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux and Spanish partner Telefonica to submit a bid for the licenses, which are being offered by the French government. Citing high prices, the consortium stepped out of the bidding on Thursday.