Aena eyes big F&B tender in Madrid as duty free bid strategy progresses

By Luke Barras-hill |

Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport recorded the highest number of pax across the Aena network in May at 4,325,389 – a 17% decline on May 2019. Source Aena.

Spain’s airport operator Aena will seek interested parties to bid for food & beverage opportunities at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) when it launches a competitive tender later this year, TRBusiness can reveal.

The contest, expected to open at the end of the third quarter (September), concerns 55 premises throughout its Spanish airports estate due for renovation and covers a surface area of than 19,000sq m.

“We have prepared the strategy and it will be launched, more or less, in September,” said Marta Abardía, Commercial Services Director at Aena. “We are very excited about this tender.”

Senior commercial executives at the airport operator have told TRBusiness that 190 retail locations have been put out to bid – and many awarded – since November.

Joining that roster is around 42 F&B units and 104 vending machine opportunities.

The winning leaseholders in those tenders include Tutti Frutti, WHSmith, Desigual, Hugo Boss, JD Sport, Mango, Mr Blue, Munich, Samsonite, Victoria Secret, Rituals, Ferragamo, Parfois, Sibarium, Suncatcher, Superskunk, Campo Marzio, Kausi, Carcasas and Oliva & Bellotta.

DF tender: ‘Strong interest’ from different operators

In addition, Aena has recently assigned tenants to run speciality shops at MAD. These units are currently undergoing refurbishments, with planned launches later this year.

Elsewhere, and as reported in January, anticipation is building ahead of Aena’s significant duty free tender expected to launch in the final quarter of 2022.

Aena will invite bids for concessions covering duty free shops at 26 airports across its network, translating to approximately 88 points of sale over a total sales area of 47,000sq m.

Updating TRBusiness, Aena confirms that the surface area could be increased.

Current duty free incumbent Dufry possesses the four contracts covering retail and commercial services at the 26 airports.

It renewed its concessions in 2019 for an initial three years with the option of a two-year extension, but the legal change on MAG/fixed concession fees paid to Aena means the existing contracts will now expire on 31 October 2023. The new concessions are due to begin in November 2023.

Alvarez & Marsal are busy analysing market trends and benchmarking duty free performances ahead of the tender launch in Q4. Current incumbent Dufry’s four contracts at the 26 airports operated by Aena will end on 31 October 2023. The new concessions will commence in November 2023.

To devise and structure a tender strategy and establish a contractual relationship with potential operators, Aena has selected consultancy group Alvarez and Marsal.

The €3.6 million advisory contract, which lasts up to 36 months, includes the preparation, drafting and tracking of the tender documents and the bidding process while conducting an in-depth analysis of the duty free shopping business.

Aena says this will allow it to ‘identify the optimum business model’ to define a suitable contractual partnership while attracting international bidders.

“Alvarez & Marsal is detecting a lot of interest in the market from different operators as this is the biggest tender in the next few years and the airport market is very big in Spain; it’s a very interesting tender for the brands, operators and Aena,” explains María José Cuenda, Managing Director Commercial and Real Estate at Aena.

“I’m very happy with what I’m seeing; they are analysing the different trends in the market, benchmarking against other airports and with other competitors. When finished with the consultation, we can take a very important view of the options Aena has in the tender. During the summer, we come prepared with the strategy to launch.”

Aena is set to launch an F&B tender at Madrid Airport later this year covering around 55 locations over 19,000sq m. Pictured is Origins at Terminal 4.

Abardía added: “For the operators, they know that this is a unique opportunity for the future. This is the biggest tender in the world in terms of sales. They are really excited and cooperating with Alvarez & Marsal.”

Aena, which operates 46 airports in Spain, closed out 2021 with 119,959,671 passengers – a 57.7% lift year-on-year (56.4% down on 2019) as it more than halved its losses to €60 million (€126.8m in 2020).

Cumulative passenger traffic for the group in the first five months of the year recovered to 80.1% of 2019 volumes.

As a result, Aena has revised its 2022 passenger traffic estimate to between 75-85% of 2019’s figure – up from 68%.

For more on Madrid Airport and Aena, stay close to TRBusiness…


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