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Gatwick tax and duty free store undergoes £4 million transformation
4:40pm Friday 14th September 2012 in Local News
Gatwick Airport's South Terminal's tax and duty free store has been transformed with an investment of more than £4 million.
Travel retailer World Duty Free Group has turned the store into its largest ‘walk through.’ The new retail space, officially launched last week, incorporates a number of innovative features and travel retail ‘firsts.’ The 2,830m2 store has been repositioned to welcome passengers as they enter the departure lounge, and is easier to navigate with its newly-introduced “walk through” format and clear sight lines.
At the store entrance, passengers entering the liquor area are welcomed with a tasting bar, which brand partners can use for in-store theatre and product sampling. Another key feature is the Tobacco Display Area (TDA), developed in partnership with Japan Tobacco International and the largest TDA to date for the Group, including feature areas for the various cigarette brands, as well as a cigar humidor and dedicated till point.
But described as the “showpiece of the store” is the 1,086m2 beauty hall, with the main brands sited on the perimeter of the store, with their own bespoke ‘bays’ or boutique areas.
Jose Maria Palencia, chief executive officer of World Duty Free Group, said: “We are very pleased with what is our largest and most innovative walk-through store within the World Duty Free Group, and we are absolutely delighted with the customer response and growth in sales that we have experienced.”
Stewart Wingate, chief executive officer of Gatwick Airport, said: “When passengers come to Gatwick they expect high standards of customer service, modern facilities and contemporary retail brands. “This impressive new retail store is providing our passengers with a fantastic welcome and shopping experience as they arrive into our departure lounge, offering a much wider choice of sought-after brands that appeal to everyone, from passengers travelling on business, to families and children. “It is an exciting day and one that demonstrates how far this airport has come.”
The store also offers the World Duty Free Group’s ‘Contentainment’ concept and hosts digital entertainment technologies that surpass anything installed to date. A 24-screen LED Digital Feature Wall dominates the main space, where brand partners can work with World Duty Free Group to stage innovative digital marketing and promotional activity. There are various interactive applications, such as digital points of sale.
In addition, the store boasts the largest sunglasses area in the Group’s stores worldwide, with a unique feature being interactive iPad screens to help customers experiment with different sunglass styles on photographs taken of their own faces. These can also be shared with others via Facebook and Twitter.
And there is an extensive confectionery area with a Tasting Event Column, where customers are able to ‘try before they buy.’ A Gatwick spokesman said: “This dramatic new retail space incorporates a number of innovative features and travel retail ‘firsts’ and has been designed to deliver an exceptional in store experience for the passenger and the very best customer engagement for brand partners.”
Gatwick has recently scored a number of airport firsts.
These have included the opening of Jamie Oliver's first airport restaurant, and opening the UK’s first interactive virtual grocery store last month. It has also won a number of key international routes, has had millions of pounds worth of improvements spent on it, and a £53 million upgrade for its railway station is expected to start soon.
The works, improvements and developments are all part of a £1 billion programme of improvements designed to transform the passenger experience, which was unveiled in 2010 by the airport's owners, a group of international investment funds, of which Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) is the majority shareholder.