In addition to its Hong Kong International Airport concessions selling duty free liquor, tobacco and confectionery at HKIA, Sky Connection reports that it hit its 2008 sales targets at the duty free border stores which
it also operates at Hong Kong's Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau railway stations.
Both stations are located on the frontier with mainland China, connecting with different points in Shenzhen in neighbouring Guangdong Province.
Sky also holds concessions to operate duty free shops in the Hong Kong-Macau ferry terminal in Hong Kong which has gone through several rebids in recent years, as well as in the Hong Kong-China city ferry terminal in Hong Kong, from where ferry services depart to various ports in neighbouring Guangdong Province's Pearl River Delta area.
‘We managed to achieve our 2008 sales target for our land border shops. Lo Wu is the biggest duty free operation, followed by Lok Ma Chau, then Hong Kong-China City Ferry Terminal and finally the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal,’ said Sky Ceo Bakker Salleh.
‘Christmas saw satisfactory growth. It seems that the financial crisis has had less impact on the border shops than at Hong Kong Airport. We had a good Chinese New Year this January.’
But looking ahead to future duty free sales prospects at the various border shop and ferry terminal outlets, Salleh pointed out that Lo Wu station in particular is already close to its operating capacity, while passenger numbers passing through Lok Ma Chau are expected to continue to improve. But Salleh added: ‘We are somewhat concerned with the continued decline in passengers at the Hong Kong-China Ferry Terminal.’
Sky Connection currently uses different offers and marketing strategies to develop its border shop and ferry terminal sales to those used at Hong Kong Airport, as he explained: ‘We do not run any tobacco promotions in compliance with the Hong Kong government Smoking Ordinance,’ Salleh pointed out. ‘The Marlboro Chinese New Year packs have worked exceptionally well this year. We will introduce the new Marlboro Crisp Mind in early April. This can be another star performer.’ [The Lo Wu station outlet has long been cited as the single largest retail outlet for Marlboro cigarettes in the world-Ed].
Salleh added: ‘In terms of liquor sales, these are largely dominated by traditional XO and VSOP Cognac products from the leading brands. Value propositions – including gift with purchase – work well at the border locations and generally. Gift with purchase gifts packed together with the merchandise are well received by the passengers.’