Lotte moves into the airport - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Lotte moves into the airport

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - While it remains to be seen if DFS Guam will file any further litigation following a dismissal by the Superior Court last week, Lotte Duty Free Guam is moving forward with completing its takeover at the Guam International Airport Authority. 

While many were preparing for the Liberation Day Parade, Lotte Duty Free spent the early hours of Sunday moving into the airport. "So basically you went from literally nothing - bare walls- , to enough merchandise where we start making sales at 4 o'clock," said Lotte transition director Gerry Perez. He says the move went as smooth as it could be planned minus a few minor glitches that could be expected with any new business. "Bottom line is on the 21st, like we said we would be, we were in business."

And while Perez will handle the transition, it's top management who will now oversee the day-to-day operations at the airport. Hr consultant Bernard Nunies says visitors have already noticed Lotte's presence. "So some people have noticed the change immediately as they've walked through the door and that has been really exciting as we open this new concept here," he said.

As for the staff, general manager Maria Ramos says it's a familiar setting considering many of those recently hired are seasoned retailers. "It really felt like you're coming into a new home, new merchandise but still feeling like you knew what you were doing," he said.

In addition to a new look, you can also expect some new brands featured for the first time on island. "So like in our beauty department, we have close to four or five beauty brands that are not here and lots of our customers who travel through Asia, know those brands so we get a lot of gasps like "you have it" so we have SK-II, we have Tonymoly, we have Nature Republic, and Missha and even Laneige and those brands are known in Asia," he said.

And as the transition continues, what remains to be seen however is whether a legal challenge will come Lotte's way. Following Judge Michael Bordallo's decision to dismiss DFS's temporary restraining order and the entire lawsuit all together - DFS had indicated that it's not over. On Friday, DFS attorney Patrick Civille noted his client was not only disappointed that the TRO was not granted but that they are fully prepared to continue with its litigation and will continue to seek to redress its rights saying, "DFS and the people of Guam have the right to expect integrity in the procurement process." He further states that over the new few days, they will fully consider its options as to how best to ensure that the procurement process remains a fair and lawful one."

Perez meanwhile says any impending lawsuit is further from his mind as Lotte's focus continues to be the transition. "Now our focus is executing the retail concept, that was a winning concept during the RFP," he said.

Meanwhile by September, Phase two of the project should commence which includes the beginnings of the new expanded footprint at the Guam International Airport Authority.

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