New Delhi Duty Free stores exceed expectations

By Andrew Pentol |

Delhi-Duty-Free-video-for-web

Philip Eckles, CEO, Delhi Duty Free Services reflects on the new premium shopping experience at Indira Gandhi International Airport Terminal 3.

Delhi Duty Free Services (DDFS), the joint-venture between Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), Aer Rianta International subsidiary, Yalorvin Limited and GMR Airports Limited has further reflected on its impressive new premium shopping experience for arriving and departing passengers at Indira Gandhi International Airport Terminal 3.

The revamp of the terminal’s international area started in 2017 and culminated in the creation of new arrivals and departures walkthroughs spanning 1,191sq m and 2,778sq m respectively. The remodelled arrivals store ultimately opened in June 2018, while the departures store revamp was completed on 17 April 2019.

During an in-depth interview with TRBusiness on 30 September 2019 at TFWA Cannes, Philip Eckles, CEO, DDFS said: “I have been with Delhi Duty Free Services exactly a year and came in towards the tail end of the project.

“The arrivals store had already been completed, but in the first month I was there we managed get the first phase of the departures store open and quickly moved into phase two and got the whole project open in mid-April.”

He added: “It all took a long time to bring to fruition to be honest, probably longer than we would have liked, but the end result has been absolutely fantastic. We have received some fantastic feedback from all our vendor partners who have actually taken some of our videos and used them internally in their own organisations in order to share the Delhi Duty Free experience. Most importantly of course is that the passengers are receiving the stores well and sales are flying at the moment.”

TRIUMPH IN ADVERSITY

Delhi Airport may have experienced difficulties with passenger numbers due to the collapse of Jet Airways and India/Pakistan airspace issues, but this has not stopped the stores performing ahead of expectation, particularly in arrivals.

Eckles commented: “The arrival store is absolutely fantastic and turned full circle back in June. The departures store still has a way to go to get to its full one-year, but both are performing fantastically.”

Reflecting on the challenges associated with the project, he remarked: “Undertaking any store redevelopment is challenging, particularly in a live environment when we are effecting passenger flows through the terminal and trying to rebuild a store within the existing footprint.

“It wasn’t green space for us, but a brownfield site so trying to maintain the level of sales we actually put through in Delhi in a relatively small amount of space was always going to be challenging.

“There is always this kind of perverse phenomenon that happens when you are redeveloping stores. Space is made smaller and there is a bit of activity going on because of the refurbishment work. Passengers usually find this interesting and actually stop.

“We didn’t see a huge dip in sales because of the growth in Delhi air traffic up to the point of the Jet Airways problem and we managed to grow sales through the entire period.”

Elaborating on overall performance across the business, Eckles revealed double-digit sales growth of 22% in the year ended March 2019 against a 7% passenger growth. “This year, the demise of Jet Airways has hit us hard as it was 13% of traffic. That said, we still have double-digit growth this year as well.”

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The new Delhi Duty Free Services departures store revamp was completed on 17 April 2019.

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