Facelifted FaSoLa store is largest at Narita Airport

By Luke Barras-hill |

Fa-So-La at Narita Terminal 2.

The refurbished FaSoLa Tax Free Akihabara store at T2 is 50% larger and sells a wide array of merchandise.

Narita International Airport Corporation’s (NAA) duty free and tax free retailing arm NAA Retailing Corporation has refurbished its Terminal 2 FaSoLa Tax Free Akihabara store to transform it into the largest outlet at Narita International Airport [see image gallery at footer].

The upgraded shop has increased in size by more than 50% to approximately 1,290sq m.

It features larger sweeping aisles to better manage visitor flows and more cash registers to facilitate greater convenience for customers.

“The store offers a wide range of products with an emphasis on ‘Made in Japan’ and ‘Quality Goods and Flavours of Japan’,” an NAA Retailing spokesperson told TRBusiness.

Food items, alcohol, electrical appliances, toys, books and craft items are an important part of the main assortment.

“Customers are also able to find great souvenirs from the extensive lineup,” continued the spokesperson. “The store distinguishes itself from the conventional souvenir shop in that the emphasis has been on creating a device so customers derive enjoyment not just by shopping but by being in the store with a tourism environment.

“Through this store, our hope is to introduce to customers from around the world a wide variety of Japanese souvenirs and the unique culture of Japan.”

‘A YEAR OF PERSEVERANCE’

Due to the impact of Covid, the shop is welcoming fewer shoppers at present but NAA Retailing says it is continuing to look at ways of providing value to the customers that enter FaSoLa Tax Free Akihabara.

“We look forward to welcoming our customers once the pandemic is over so that they can fully appreciate the benefits of Akihabara,” added the spokesperson.

Hiroomi Eguchi, Vice President, Retail Operations Department at Narita International Airport Corporation.

Hiroomi Eguchi, Vice President, Retail Operations Department at NAA, reflected on the travails of 2021 while assessing the 2022 trading environment in comments shared with TRBusiness earlier this year as part of the revered Global Industry Survey.

“Like 2020, 2021 was a year of perseverance,” he said. “However, we believe that Narita Airport fulfilled its role as the main gateway to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and as a logistics centre for the transport of vaccines and other medical supplies as well as key items supporting Japan’s socio-economic activities.

“We believe that we will continue [with healthy spend-per passenger levels] but not with as large a share as before. However, we will strive resolutely to ensure that we are able to obtain sales.”

He spoke about the importance of ensuring that NAA – as a business entity and facility manager – is able to adapt in a flexible manner in response to Covid and other challenges.

“In order for Narita Airport to make greater use of its strengths, eliminate its weaknesses and enhance its global competitiveness, it is important to understand what our customers want from Narita Airport and improve the customer experience,” he continued.

“We are bolstering our marketing initiatives and analysing social networking service comments and external assessments while adopting new indicators for the measurement of customer loyalty in the future and we hope to reflect the results of these analyses in measures designed to improve customer services and our facilities.

“Recognising the fact that improving employee satisfaction throughout the airport is essential for enhancing customer services and the company’s competitiveness, we plan to step-up our employee satisfaction initiatives.”

As reported, Narita and other Japanese airports have witnessed a large drop in duty free and tax free sales over the past year as Japan has remained closed to foreign tourists and all but essential travel to prevent the spread of the virus.

NAA reported a 93.8% drop to JPY 7.4 billion/US$67.1 million in duty free and tax free sales for financial year ending 31 March 2021 (FY2020).

Coinciding with the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games held last year, the majority of which was held behind closed doors, FaSoLa introduced a number of special Olympic-themed products into its stores.

Click the respective links for more on recent developments at Tokyo Narita International Airport and a special Japan report centred on the Tokyo 2020 Games, contained within the TRBusiness July/August Top 10 Airports e-zine.

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