Le Bridge Travel Retail inaugurates new duty free business in Chisinau, Moldova – 13/11/09

Le Bridge Travel Retail CEO Franck Arif and his wife Kareen at last night’s inauguration

MOLDOVA. Le Bridge Travel Retail, one of Europe’s newest duty free concessionaires, last night inaugurated its operations with a spectacular event in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, attended by The Moodie Report.

The celebration, which mixed dance and theatre, was attended by local politicians, ambassadors from many countries and key suppliers to the fledgling business.

Le Bridge Travel Retail’s border store at Leuseni on the frontier with Romania

Le Bridge is poised to open one airport store in the Moldovan capital Chisinau and has the licence for five border duty free outlets on the Romanian frontier. The first of these, which guests visited yesterday, lies at Leuseni, to the west of Chisinau. It will open in the coming days with other outlets to follow.

The company has pledged to introduce a new level of luxury to the travel retail business in Moldova, and features most of the major brands in liquor, tobacco, confectionery and fragrances & cosmetics at its outlets.

Key partners (left to right): Diageo Global and Travel Middle East Customer Team Manager Michael Metzner, Le Bridge Travel Retail Purchase Department Manager Elena Donciu, B&S Paul Global Business Unit Director Cees Visser and Philip Morris Manager Duty Free CIS Michael Pettersson were among the guests last night

Le Bridge Travel Retail CEO Franck Arif told The Moodie Report: “I think we have created something beautiful, and built some of the nicest duty free shops in Europe. We will ensure a high quality of service and great brands for the customers of our stores. There is a high level of design and decoration in the stores.

“The luxury market will develop in Moldova and we want to help that happen with our duty free shops. Today, the major brands are not that well represented here but we want to change that.”

A Habanos cigar roller added theatre to the evening in Chisinau

Le Bridge is the Moldovan importer and distributor of brands for leading suppliers such as Imperial Tobacco and British-American Tobacco, among others. The company has operated in the consumer goods industry, notably the dairy and ice cream business, in Moldova for more than 14 years, and has over 1,000 staff.

Between the border and airport stores – which were won after a tender last year – the company will operate 2,000sq m of space, and is investing €3.5 million in its new operations. The border posts handle 1.2 million travellers per year, while the airport handles 800,000.

Core categories: Liquor (top), tobacco (centre ) and confectionery (above) will be critical for the fledgling border business

Carnival spirit: Last night’s celebration was a hugely entertaining affair with Rio-style dancers among the entertainers

Le Bridge Travel Retail CEO Franck Arif with France’s Ambassador to Moldova, Pierre Andreu

*We’ll bring you more comment and images from Le Bridge Duty Free’s new stores soon.


Moldovan retailer and distributor Le Bridge Duty Free prepares to open border and airport stores – 13/10/09

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