Heathrow best for shoppers

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A new study into the airport retailing sector has revealed that London Heathrow and Copenhagen are the leading airports for shoppers in Europe.

The travel hubs topped a list of the continent’s leading retail centers compiled by strategic property consultancy Harper Dennis Hobbs (HDH), seeing off competition from Paris-Charles De Gaulle and Rome Fiumicino.

Airports are increasingly capitalizing on the growth of air travel, creating modern premium environments to attract new brands and offer consumers more choice. The results can be seen globally in new and transformed departure lounges offering an extensive choice of retailers, brands and products.

Heathrow’s shopping offer is widely known, winning the Skytrax award for Best Airport Shopping for the last 10 years. Retail experts praised the airport’s “customer-centric pricing policy” which guarantees that customers will never pay more than the high street equivalent, with many of its stores, which include Prada, Fendi and the Harry Potter Shop, offering discounts of up to 20% on the ‘downtown’ price.

More than 80 million passengers used Heathrow in 2018, and HDH also praised the airport for being ahead of the curve, for instance for being the first airport to introduce restaurants by leading celebrity chefs and continually delivering innovative, award winning concepts.

HDH found that Copenhagen Airport – which boasts more than 11,000m2 (118,400ft2) of specialty, duty-free and convenience store space and 95 units in its departures terminal – had created a brand and product mix that celebrates modern Scandinavian style and local favorites alongside internationally recognized brands.

This means that more than 80,000 passengers passing through the airport each day were exposed to local favourites including Danish fashion brand Wood Wood, the globally recognized toy brand Lego, and luxury liquorice from Lakrids, as well as global luxury powerhouse brands such as Gucci, Hermes and Saint Laurent.

“Air travel is stronger than it has ever been and passenger numbers are expected to increase dramatically over the next two decades. I expect to see continued growth in this space as airports invest in the development of terminal and retail propositions,” said Simon Black, director of travel retail at HDH.

“For retailers, this offers an opportunity for growth away from the under-pressure high street and we will see more retailers utilizing pre-ordering, reserve and collect and home delivery services to enable passengers to plan their airport shopping in advance of traveling.”


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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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