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RETAIL/F&B Last modified on May 21, 2015

On the menu

Airport World highlights the latest retail/F&B-focused customer service initiatives introduced by Gebr Heinemann and Stansted and Helsinki airports.

Duty free giant, Gebr Heinemann, has launched a new app in a bid to improve its service to customers, boost sales and engender greater customer loyalty.

It claims that the app will help it expand the range offered by its airport Heinemann Duty Free outlets and make shopping easier and more convenient than ever before.

The app also allows users to fill in a form to book a personal shopping assistant at a location of their choice, free of charge (participating Heinemann Duty Free shops are Hamburg, Frankfurt, Cologne, Salzburg, Vienna, Budapest and Oslo). 

“The launch of the new Heinemann app is a further service we are adding to the concept of duty free shopping,” says Markus Ettlin, marketing director at Gebr Heinemann. 

“Our new services packages meet the needs of customers for flexible and mobile services while creating additional points of interaction that enable us to understand them even better.”

Meanwhile another Heinemann customer service innovation, a home delivery service for German-based shoppers, continues to grow, although not as quickly as the duty free operator had anticipated.

“It is enjoying nice growth, although the overall percentage of the business, around 0.5% of our German turnover, remains small,” admits Kay Spanger, Heinemann’s executive director for purchasing and logistics.

In other news, Heinemann reveals that its arrivals duty free shops in Turkey and Norway are hugely popular with passengers, the outlet in Oslo Airport enjoying the status of the biggest wine shop in the world based on the daily sale of 12,000 bottles of wine.

It has certainly been a busy and successful start to 2015 for Heinemann, which has won major tenders for retail concessions at Sydney Airport and the new Istanbul Airport (scheduled to open in 2017) – courtesy of its 60.8% stake in Unifree Duty Free – in addition to acquiring a controlling 60% stake in Schiphol Airport Retail.

The deals mean that the company, which anticipates investing €130 million in different projects in 2015, will operate 150,000sqm of retail space globally by 2017 – more than double the 70,000sqm it had just a year ago.

The new Istanbul airport contract alone, where it will have up to 80 outlets covering 53,000sqm of retail space, is expected to have a turnover of €1 billion in its first year.


Airport expansion

Elsewhere, London’s Stansted and Helsinki airports have launched major revamps of their retail/F&B facilities in a bid to increase passenger appeal.

A brand-new premium bakery concept, James Martin Kitchen, new Pret A Manger – with 50% more seating – and Halo, a new concept fizz bar created especially for the airport, are the latest new additions at Stansted as the airport enters the final stages of the second phase of the £80 million revamp of its international departure lounge.

MAG retail director, Beth Brewster, says: “The transformation at Stansted is about giving passengers greater choice. All the new tastes joining the Stansted menu offer something a little bit different and the openings widen that choice even further and will be very popular additions to the Stansted menu.”

In Finland, Helsinki Airport operator, Finavia, believes that new F&B outlets such as the Arctic Bar and Nordic Kitchen will bring more of a Finnish feel to Helsinki Airport.

Indeed, Finavia states that retaining a strong Finnish feel in terms of its F&B offerings will be a key focus as it enhances the airport’s growing, and ever more international, range of commercial services.

“The starting point for our commercial operations is that, regardless of the supply becoming more international, the Finnish feel will remain a strong part of the overall experience,” says Finavia’s vice president, Jukka Isomäki, who is responsible for commercial operations at Helsinki Airport.

One of the newest restaurants opened at Helsinki Airport is the Arctic Bar, operated by HMSHost. The speciality of the bar, located at Gate 29, is its roofless outdoor terrace, where departing and transit passengers get to go outside and feel the Finnish weather as it is – whether that means snow, sleet, rain or sunshine.

The idea came from wanting to offer transit passengers a small piece of authentic Finland. Elsewhere, the classic Wine & View bar operated by SSP at Helsinki Airport has undergone a complete transformation, which, according to Finavia, ensures that a more stylish and spacious wine bar now awaits passengers at Gate 26.

They will be joined by Pier Zero later this year, a two-storey café-restaurant that Finavia promises will “offer a leisurely break with a treat amid the hustle and bustle of the airport, as well as a magnificent, unrestricted view of the air traffic area”.

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Joe Bates

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