September 27, 2008

Airports Push Retail to Counter Downturn

By Bokale, Jemima

As many high-street retailers suffer from a slowdown in consumer spending, retail sales at airports are booming as operators market their sites as shopping destinations. Global retail sales at airports are expected to grow to $30bn (Pounds 15bn) in 2008, up 11% from $27bn (Pounds 13.5bn) last year. According to Verdict Research, this makes airports the second-fastest-growing retail channel after online.

European airport operator BAA, which runs seven sites including Heathrow, Gatwick and Naples airports, recently launched ads promoting its facilities, shops and restaurants as offering 'moments to fly for'. It aims to drive retail in light of the rising cost of air travel.

Retail growth is also being driven by major investment in new airports and facilities, such as Heathrow's T5, which houses 112 shops and restaurants, including Harrods, Tiffany & Co and Gordon Ramsay's exclusive Plane Food restaurant. An advertising campaign promoting T5's shops and facilities was planned ahead of its March launch.

According to BAA, all tenant brands of the Pounds 4.3bn terminal were encouraged to provide evidence of innovations in their service or store design that would contribute to making travelling from T5 a unique experience.

'Key factors stimulating growth are increased affluence, growing tourism, rapidly expanding airline networks and new routes, especially those of low-cost carriers,' said Nick Gladding, analyst at Verdict. 'The increase in business travel is providing a further boost to airport retailers.'

BAA: campaign highlights retail experience on offer at airports

Copyright Haymarket Business Publications Ltd. Aug 20, 2008

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