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RETAIL/F&B Last modified on December 28, 2016

Better buys

Airport World highlights some of the more high profile global retail/F&B stories of the final quarter of 2016.

Hong Kong International Airport has announced plans for a new retail and entertainment development a short walk from its terminals.

Called SKYCITY, the new development is being driven by the airport’s desire to create a unique new destination for Hong Kong and further strengthen HKIA’s position as an international aviation hub.

Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) claims that SKYCITY will feature retail complexes, entertainment facilities, dining space, hotels and office towers.

All will be located on approximately 25 hectares of land at the north of the airport island, reveals AAHK chairman, Jack So Chak-kwong, noting that it is the airport’s vision is to “create a new destination that goes far beyond the traditional notion of a shopping mall”. 

He says: “Located right next to the airport, SKYCITY aims to capture broad opportunities in tourism and business, while also providing a dynamic lifestyle and family entertainment hub for Hong Kong residents and visitors alike.”

The initial phase of the three-phase project will comprise a 450 to 750-room hotel and a “unique 195,000sqm retail, dining and entertainment (RDE) destination” set to open in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

California dreamin’

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Westfield have unveiled the latest milestone in the gateway’s modernisation programme, its new-look Terminal 6, which features a bold new design and 21 new retail and dining concepts.

Terminal 6 is the second redesigned terminal unveiled this year following the transformation of Terminal 2, which debuted in February.

More than 22,000 square feet has been transformed in Terminal 6, delivering what operator Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) believes is a unique traveller journey inspired by LA’s iconic Sunset Boulevard. 

The redevelopment includes the new retail and dining collection and nearly 5,300 square feet of improvements to common areas, including the new terrazzo floor and ribbon ceiling, three sets of bathrooms, new electrical and IT infrastructure as well as tenant office spaces.

The transformation was made possible through a $70.5 million total investment from LAWA, Westfield and its operating partners.

“We’re raising the bar for what’s possible at an airport,” enthuses Deborah Flint, LAWA’s chief executive officer. 

“LAWA and Westfield are providing passengers with a special experience that allows them to sample the best of LA, food and drink, unique shops and modern amenities. Now they can find all that and more in Terminal 6.”

Six operating partners worked together with LAWA and Westfield on the T6 project – Delaware North; HMSHost; Hudson Group; J&H Enterprises; SSP America; and TUMI, Inc.

Back in the game

HMSHost has effectively re-entered the airport retail business following the purchase of venue retailer, Stellar Partners Inc.

Stellar, which will operate as an independent subsidiary, currently operates 38 convenience and specialty retail stores in 10 airports in the US and has annual revenues of $38 million. 

The subsidiary will continue to be led by president and CEO, Susan Stackhouse, and senior vice president and COO, Ramon Bosquez, and remain headquartered in Tampa, Florida. 

According to HMSHost, the expertise of Stellar’s leadership will help it develop its airport retail business, as well as help enhance the company’s retail business in its motorway channel. It adds that its resources and decades of experience will also support Stellar’s growth and provide new opportunities for its 250 associates and management team. 

Talking about the deal earlier in this year, HMSHost president and CEO, Steve Johnson, said: “We are thrilled to be re-entering the airport retail business by bringing Stellar, considered the best small operator in the industry, into the HMSHost family.

“The expertise Susan and Ramon bring will help us to develop our airport retail business, as well as enhance our existing retail stores in our motorway channel. 

“I have known Susan and Ramon for many years, and very much look forward to working with them to grow Stellar in North American airports and position HMSHost to re-enter this $1.5 billion market.”

Mobile-Ala-Cart ORD

Going mobile

In other news, HMSHost has announced that it continues to expand its mobile dining concepts of food trucks, carts and cycles at US airports.

It says: “Customers are not always able to get the service or merchandise they desire because of store location, peak store traffic, disabilities, or tight connections. 

“The concept of mobile offerings combats these issues by bringing food options directly to the gate at an airport, or to the parking lot at a motorway service plaza. 

“The mobile aspect provides the opportunity to place dining offerings in regions that lack store presence and the flexibility to even shift location depending on demand.”

Examples of these innovative new food offerings include its E Komo Mai and Wiki Wiki food wagons at Honolulu and Maui airports in Hawaii; the Mobile Ala Cart food cart at Chicago O’Hare; and a Food Cycle at Memphis International Airport, the latter two both delivering select food and beverages to travellers at their gates.

“HMSHost created these mobile vendors to meet the dining needs of travellers, right where they are,” says HMSHost’s vice president of innovation, Jim Schmitz. 

“To us, innovation is more than technology – it is being at the right place, at the right time, with the right food and beverage offering. 

“We’ve found that a significant group of travellers don’t like to leave their flight’s gate area or their vehicles while on the road, yet would love something to eat, or to have a drink to take on their journey. Mobile carts make grabbing a snack quick, easy, and convenient.” 

Heinemann-Duty-Free-Kids-Shop VIE

Kids corner

Meanwhile in Europe, Gebr Heinemann has opened its first Heinemann Duty Free Kids Shop anywhere in the world at Vienna Airport. 

Located in the plaza of Check-in 2 and described as “a genuine feel-good shop”, Heinemann hopes its offering of toys, sweets and a pit full of Lego bricks where kids can play and build things will surprise and delight kids and adults alike. 

Covering an area of around 130 square metres, passengers are met by a bright and inviting ambience, sporting oversize wooden jigsaw pieces on the ceiling and walls. 

It believes that a stylised tree in the centre evokes memories of playing outdoors and also offers a fun photo image. 

“Children, parents looking for something to take home for the kids and all those who have retained some of the magic of childhood will find a wide selection of high-quality toy brands such as Steiff, Playmobil, Disney, Lego or Brio, and sweets from Kinder chocolate, through Chupa Chups to Haribo,” promises Heinemann.

“The toys category has grown disproportionately in the Heinemann Duty Free Shops in the last year and still shows great potential. We have picked up on this positive trend and taken the opportunity to open a separate Kids Shop for the first time here in Vienna,” explains Kai Langnickel, managing director of Gebr Heinemann Wien GmbH, which operates the shop. 

“We are delighted that Vienna Airport has welcomed our idea and provided us with a perfect space, right next to our Heinemann Duty Free Shop. The initial passenger response shows that they are impressed by the emotional presentation and the brands on offer.” 

The store’s pre-Xmas opening was certainly perfectly timed by the airport, which believes that the outlet adds to its facilities and services aimed at families with children.

“We want to make the travel experience a pleasant one for our smallest passengers, which is why we are providing various services for families such as children’s play areas and family security checks,” says Vienna Airport’s chief operations officer, Julian Jäger.

“The new Heinemann Duty Free Kids Shop is the perfect addition to our offerings. Our partnership with Gebr Heinemann has been a long and successful one, and we are delighted to be the first in the world to host this innovation.”

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