Baltona opens flagship duty free shop at Warsaw Chopin

By Andrew Pentol |

Baltona-Duty-Free-Warsaw-store

Baltona Duty Free has opened its largest duty free store at Warsaw Chopin Airport.

Baltona Duty Free has opened its flagship duty free store at Warsaw Chopin Airport, where it was awarded the nine-year concession covering 14 outlets in 2018.

Under the terms of the concession, Baltona will open four duty free shops, three fashion boutiques and seven confectionery, tobacco and newsagent outlets across both terminals across an area of around 3,000sq m. At present, around 70% of the investment has been completed at the premises.

Spanning 1,200sq m, the flagship Multistore duty free shop, its largest at the airport, is located just behind security. Opened on schedule, the initial offer, which will gradually be expanded, comprises a range of perfumes and cosmetics, alcohol, sweets and accessories from global brands.

The new Baltona duty free store is the 11th to open as part of the project. An opening ceremony showcasing the whole investment is due to take place in spring.

A ‘CHALLENGING COOPERATION’

Speaking to TRBusiness in October, Piotr Kazimierski, President of the Management Board of Baltona said: “We have the whole of Terminal 2 including the non-Schengen zone so this is going to be a big and challenging cooperation, not only for the opening, but also during the concession period.

“This is going to be our main business, but also our biggest business in terms of location.”

He added: “It is a complex process. Opening 14 locations virtually at the same time is obviously a challenge.”

With one eye on the future, Kazimierski, who indicated Baltona would consider opening temporary locations at the airport after the concession win was announced in 2018, said: “First of all, it is the capital city airport and will be a 16m or 17m passenger airport this year. Then, there is the possibility of a new central [airport] hub opening in the next nine or 10 years.

Baltona-Warsaw-store-front

The 1,200sq m flagship Multistore duty free shop is located just behind security.

“Warsaw is growing double-digit so will reach capacity any day now. They are getting tighter and tighter which is easy to see. This is a significant challenge for the airport and will be a key one for us. The number of passengers, number of locations and the way they are scattered around the terminal will not make things easy especially during the high season.”

Following the opening of the store, Kazimierski revealed the focus was on building positive experiences for passengers departing from Warsaw Airport. “When implementing this investment, we focused on the highest quality.

“We have employed the best specialists from Poland and abroad to work on the project. Finishing elements have been imported from Italy, Spain, Germany, France and the United States. The store looks impressive today, although the key surprises are left for the grand opening of the entire investment, which will take place in the spring.”

Baltona-Zubrowska-stand

The Polish Żubrówka stand is a living ecosystem exposition which symbolises the origin of Żubrówka from the Bialowieza Forest.

SURPRISE FACTOR

The new flagship duty free store uses several hundred thousand diodes and many kilometres of signal cables and LED strips. This creates an ‘extraordinary’ show of  colours, lights and sounds, according to the retailer. The ceiling consists of up to 1,500 decorative elements which dovetail with the content displayed on the ribbons and individual screens.

“Our investment at Chopin Airport is a new approach to communication with the client”, Kazimierski remarked: “We focused on modernity. Screens, in addition to the decorative function, will inform passengers about available brands and promotions. We have also prepared special thematic zones.

“The final result will be the outcome of cooperations with brands, that have created new arrangements especially for our store in Okęcie.”

An example of such cooperations is the Polish Żubrówka stand. This is a living ecosystem exposition which symbolises the origin of Żubrówka from the Bialowieza Forest and its wild nature.

Baltona-Duty-Free-interior-1

A further three stores are still to open as part of the Baltona project in Warsaw.

The Design Solution Director Nick Taylor offered an insight into the approach of the company when undertaking the project. He commented: “Having worked in Warsaw on and off over the past 20 years, I have witnessed first hand the astonishing transformation this city has gone through.

“In the late 90s I would have described this as a grey and gritty city with pockets of decent retail mostly situated in a few shopping centres in the suburbs. It certainly felt a long way behind other capital cities in Western Europe.

“Now, it is an incredibly vibrant and forward thinking city, tourist hub and centre for big business whose geographical position at the heart of Europe makes it an increasingly busy destination.”

The airport has paralleled the increase in travel and expanded over time, adding significant areas of airside retail, according to Taylor.  “When Baltona approached us to work with them on re-instating them at Chopin, I was delighted to be part of the team.”

Regarding the designs for the main store, Taylor said the company worked closely with Baltona to optimise the space, maximising the amount of retail while ensuring that passengers penetrate the entire space.

“One of the key challenges with this store was that, despite its close proximity to security, it is an island site so we have to work hard to entice passengers in before they go to their gate.

“On top of this there is a rear entrance/exit onto a second corridor where we want to attract passengers in rather than lose their attention before they have seen the entire offer.”

 



 

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