A Reflective Of Our Past Year
And Our Growing Success

2018 brought many exciting developments for our business, starting with our February IPO, an important milestone in our 30+ year history. As we embarked on our first year as a public company, we achieved solid results in line with our expectations and long-term framework, and secured several new contracts that will further expand our footprint and pave the way for continued profitable growth.

view letter from CEO

Roger Fordyce, CEO & Director

Part of the Hudson Group family for 30 years

Our people & Culture

A Letter From Our CEO

At Hudson, we have a solid foundation built upon our leading market share, decades-long experience in the travel retail industry and our positive track record and relationships with our landlords. These strengths will allow us to continue on our trajectory and capitalize on the many opportunities that lie ahead.

looking at our performance

Hudson Group at a Glance 2018

Net sales
by Country

Net sales
by Sector

Net sales
by Channel

Net sales by
Product Category

1,000 Stores


6.8% Turnover

Turnover (in millions)

63.7% Gross
Profit Margin

Gross Profit (in millions)


Adj. EBITDA* (in millions)

* For reconciliation of the Non-IFRS Measures please refer to page 35 in the 2018 Annual Report

2018 Highlights

Strong Organic Sales Growth
Achieved 7.0% organic sales growth supported by strong passenger growth, in-store productivity initiatives and footprint expansion
World's Largest Hudson Store Unveiled
Opened our flagship store in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Shop-in-shop format with over 5,000 square feet

Expansion of F&B Category
Over 10% year-over-year growth in retail food & beverage category

F&B sales reached 38% of total net sales vs. 36% in 2017

New Exclusive Partnership
Signed agreement to be the exclusive airport retailer for FAO Schwarz and FAO Schweetz product and shops

First store opened at LaGuardia Airport

Successful Initial Public Offering
First year as a publicly listed company on the New York Stock Exchange
Gross Margin Expansion
Expanded gross margin by 140 basis points to 63.7%,

Driven by positive sales mix shift and successful vendor negotiations

Expanded Footprint with Key New Market Wins
Will add over 50,000 additional square feet to our portfolio through key wins including Boston Logan, Philadelphia International and Salt Lake City International

Over 80% renewal rate on existing contracts

Hudson Investment Case

Market Leader In a Growing Industry

  • Nearly 40% market share in airport retail concessions
  • Attractive industry dynamics with projected 3% passenger growth and 4% spend per passenger growth through 2025
  • Infrastructure needs at North American airports estimated to be nearly $130 billion through 2023





  • Hudson is the most preferred brand in North American travel retail
  • Our brand recognition is a key advantage for attracting customers and landlords


  • Over 30 years of profitable growth

Experienced, Cohensive Management Team

  • Average tenure of 21 years

Low Financial Leverage of 1.3X

  • Provides flexibility to pursue M&A opportunities

Highly Diversified Concession Portfolio

  • Over 200 concession contracts with average remaining term of over five years
  • No single contract greater than 8% of net sales
  • Natural barrier to new market entrants


In my first letter as Hudson Group's CEO, I would like to take this opportunity to express my passion and commitment to this company, reflect on the many achievements and milestones of 2018, review our strategic priorities, and share our vision for the future.

I must begin by acknowledging my predecessor, Joe DiDomizio, for his tireless passion and valuable contribution to growing Hudson to what it is today. Under Joe's guidance, we built an exceptionally strong foundation that will benefit our organization long after his departure. We are grateful for his service.

I have had the pleasure of being of part of Hudson's success for the entirety of our 30+ year history, and I am honored to be leading the company into its next phase of growth. We have a substantial opportunity to continue to grow this business through operational excellence and financial discipline, which will ultimately generate the greatest return for our shareholders.


2018 was a monumental year for Hudson Group as we embarked on a new phase of growth as a public company. We have continued to execute on our core purpose of being the "Traveler's Best Friend" as a leader in travel retail and the largest North American operator in the industry. Aligned with our commitment to our shareholders, we maintained the strategic direction laid out during our IPO and delivered results in 2018 that were consistent with our long-term targets.

Given the nature of our industry and variable timing associated with winning concession contracts and opening new stores, our business does not manifest in a linear fashion. Nevertheless, we maintain our conviction for our long-term framework to deliver high single-digit organic sales growth, low double-digit EBITDA growth and high-teens net profit growth.


To summarize our 2018 financial results:
  • We achieved 7.0% organic sales growth;
  • We expanded gross profit margin by 140 basis points; and
  • We delivered Adjusted EBITDA growth of 38.0% (13.9% assuming the reduced franchise fee rates we currently pay Dufry were in effect in 2017)
  • Our organic sales were driven by a combination of healthy like-for-like sales growth in our existing stores and positive contributions from new stores and conversions. Like-for-like sales growth was softer in the second half of the year as we faced some market headwinds, namely foreign exchange and shifting passenger demographics, the latter of which led to softer sales in our duty free and luxury business. The wonderful thing about our business is that we are a multi-faceted, multi-concept retailer with a wide diversity of product categories and brands. As customers' tastes and preferences shift, we respond by adapting our merchandising mix to suit those demands.

    In addition to benefiting from an ever increasing flow of passengers passing by our stores and their increasing propensity to spend, we have been successful at driving additional sales through our differentiated commercial approach as well as a number of productivity initiatives.

    One of these key initiatives has been the aggressive expansion of our food and beverage offering. This year we committed to accelerating this growth by installing refrigeration units in as many travel and convenience stores as possible, which has been a strong driver of F&B sales. We're very proud of the success of our marketplace offering, including our newly expanded grab and go line, which grew over 50% during 2018.


    You will hear us say time and time again that our people are the key to our success. We place great emphasis on our locally empowered and centrally supported employee model, a structure that places decision-making in the hands of our local managers allowing them to act nimbly and respond quickly to our landlord partners. This entrepreneurial approach has been integral to our culture from the very beginning and sets us apart from the competition. Our landlord partnerships are extremely valuable and we view this approach as a foundational part of a sound relationship and long-term mutual success.


    On the new business side, we had several wins and extensions in key markets, including Boston Logan International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Salt Lake City International Airport and JFK International Airport. These successes were the direct result of our dedication to driving value for our landlord partners. We have a strong reputation in our industry, and ultimately, airport directors want to partner with experienced operators who have a history of generating year-over-year revenue growth, demonstrate knowledge about the airport's travelers and the local market, and have the ability to deliver the "wow" factor for a given terminal.

    In order to create that "wow" factor, we curate a selection of concepts and brands that will resonate with passenger demographics and create a sense of place for that particular market. This year we had a number of notable store openings that were custom tailored to meet this objective. A few highlights include:

    We celebrated the grand opening of the largest Hudson store ever in the world's busiest airport, Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport. This flagship store covers 5,000 square feet and features a store-in-store design with three separate concepts: our travel essentials Hudson store, and our own proprietary concepts: Ink bookstore and Sweet Indulgences candy and treats shop.

    At McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, we transformed previously unproductive space into a collection of proprietary and branded specialty stores, including a Tech on the Go, Urban Decay, Swatch, 5th & Sunset and M. Frederic. We also created a 6,000 square foot walkthrough duty free store.


    While we have a solid presence in North America's largest airports, we are not in all terminals so there is ample whitespace to capture through new wins. In addition, this whitespace continues to grow as airports are expected to invest billions in infrastructure to keep up with growing passenger volumes. As the market leader in travel retail, we are well positioned to capture a sizeable portion of this whitespace and further grow our market share.

    Looking ahead, we are committed to growing our business both organically and inorganically. We are always monitoring the industry and are open to acquisitions that will expand our footprint and build upon our capabilities. We have low financial leverage which gives us the flexibility to take advantage of opportunities that make sense and are accretive to our business.

    In closing, I would like to thank all of the team members across our organization for their service, dedication and passion, and staying true to our core purpose of being the Traveler's Best Friend. I'd also like to thank our landlords for their continued partnership and look forward to continuing to build on our success together. And lastly, thank you to our customers for continuing to let us serve your needs when you travel, and to our investors for putting your trust in us to deliver long term value growth.