EXCLUSIVE: Munich Airport CCO talks retail strategy

By Luke Barras-hill |

Dr. Jan-Henrik Andersson, Chief Commercial Officer and Chief Security Officer, Munich Airport.

Munich Airport (MUC) is committed to delivering on its ambitious transformation plans at Terminal 1, with a new walkthrough duty free store linked to a refreshed marketplace concept billed to go live in 2025/2026.

Dr Jan-Henrik Andersson, responsible for commercial and security areas at the Bavarian hub, spoke to TRBusiness recently in an in-depth video interview to discuss developments at Terminal 1, Terminal 2 and the Satellite.

As part of a wide-ranging discussion, the Management Board member also touched on commercial dynamics and the merits of future contract models in the face of the progressive climb-back in passenger traffic.

To watch the full interview with Jan-Henrik Andersson, click below.

As first revealed by TRBusiness in 2020, MUC plans to upgrade the commercial footprint at Terminal 1 to measure 5,000sq m – up from its current 1,000sq m.

LUXURY ‘STRONG COMPONENT’ AT T2

The upgrade of Terminal 1 involves connecting two existing modules (A and B) to create a single non-Schengen departure zone featuring a huge walkthrough duty free shop of close to 2,000sq m and multiple retail units.

This feeds into a broader vision to extend the terminal, including a new pier and central building complex, to create 95,000sq m of additional space and the capacity to handle six million passengers per year.

Offering an update on the T1 expansion project, the subject of an important shareholder committee meeting of late, Andersson tells TRBusiness that MUC still harbours a compelling commercial vision for the terminal.

“It is a construction site that is getting more mature, but the whole interior setting is not finished yet. We hold our vision to open a new, smashing area of 5,000sq m with a walkthrough concept going live by 2025 end of year. Due shortages of materials and availability of labour, we may slip into 2026.”

Unsurprisingly, a large number of opportunities will onboard for interested – and qualified – retail and F&B tenants, both third parties and MUC’s own businesses.

Negotiations for the commercial spaces typically commence around three years prior to opening, TRBusiness hears, meaning opportunities are likely to arise in the coming 12-18 months.

Similar to T2, it is anticipated that the design will focus around a central security zone and marketplace concept to improve flow-through and visibility of the retail offer.

“In terms of footfall, capture rate, impulse and planned buying – appealing to customers’ insights – reach to landside and downtown city zones, this will really make it a really busy place,” continued Andersson.

Meanwhile, a robust nod towards luxury as a chief proposition in the non-Schengen area of Terminal 2 remains.

Munich Airport handled just over four million passengers in the first three months of this year, up 618% compared with the 570,000 passengers recorded over the same period in 2021.

“High-end and luxury [segments], besides the crisis those are strong and faithful components,” he commented. “Our Rolex shop and other high-end fashion brands deliver by square metre, by sales per pax. This is definitely something we will build into the shop mix and brand proposition.”

On the other hand the US$1 billion T2 Satellite, which opened in 2016 in a joint venture with Lufthansa, does not currently possess the commercial impetus to instigate changes as a result of the dearth in traffic.

“As of now, we don’t see additional capacity for the Satellite,” stated Andersson. “We are still fighting shop closures and we want to reactivate those by adding new ones. But this will come as soon as we see demand going up again.”

Since June 2020, MUC has been reopening various retail and F&B outlets and boosting its concession presence in line with the recovery in international traffic volumes.

Announcing its fiscal year 2021 results last month, MUC reported that traffic volumes are still being ‘heavily influenced’ by the effects of the Covid-19 crisis.

Pictured and below: Artist’s impressions of the new T1 Pier retail layout.

Passengers totalled 12.5 million – an uplift of more than 12% year-on-year – though still well below the 48 million pax recorded in 2019. It is gathered that the airport expects to handle around 30 million pax this year.

Despite the challenges, green shoots of recovery are emerging; a total of around 13,000 flights during the Easter holidays equated to around 70% of the comparative figure in 2019.

Group-wide consolidated revenue for operator Flughafen München GmbH (FMG) hit €601 million/US$625 million in fiscal 2021, with EBIT at -€286m – an improvement of nearly €120m year-on-year.

Earnings after taxes totalled -€261m, an uptick of around €60m or 19% on the previous year’s loss.

Having weathered the painful shock of Covid-19 and its variants, the emergence of the Omicron strain in the latter half of 2021 dealt another blow to global aviation.

This hit was further exacerbated by the subsequent macroeconomic and geopolitical reverberations from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In the first quarter of 2022, passenger traffic at MUC amounted to just over four million (4,089 million).

This equated to a seven-fold uplift on the 570,000 passengers that used the airport in the same period in 2021, as international travel continued to be punished by the hangover of the pandemic despite restrictions having lifted across much of Europe.

As per its current passenger volume, MUC has reached approximately 40% of the record level recorded in 2019.

Chief Executive Officer Jost Lammers said he expects ‘a significant increase in aircraft movements and passengers in 2022’ and can expect to return to pre-crisis levels in 2024.

MyDutyFree shop fascia at Terminal 2 courtesy of Eurotrade, Munich Airport’s retail subsidiary.

For commercial concessionaires, this bodes well. While the mix of retail and F&B stores has changed since the crisis – severe financial pressures meant some did not survive the close period – MUC continues to freshen up the offer.

Last month, the operator cut the ribbon on a new permanent monobrand unit from haute chocolatier Sprüngli at the departures area of Terminal 2 following the success of a pop-up store.

Meanwhile, Tripidi has unveiled an outlet at Terminal 2, non-Schengen gate area H housing a range of leading brands, such as Faber-Castell and Fissler, with shop-in-shop spaces for Victorinox and Lamy.

In July last year, French luxury leather goods company Longchamp introduced a new 72sq m boutique in the same area in partnership with MUC’s retail subsidiary Eurotrade.

SPACE-TO-CUSTOMER ‘PARADIGM SHIFT’

Andersson was candid went asked about the learnings that MUC – and its commercial tenants – have learned since shops started to recommence trading in the months that followed the pandemic.

“We have seen the biggest crisis ever; from a relatively risk-free environment […] we have come to a conclusion that the pyramid has turned upside down. But I think we have been showing strong signals especially to our tenants including duty free operators to show a partnership approach, to pay a lot of attention to supporting elements.

“We’ve had a suspension of rental payments and added a lot of flexibility. This is what will last in the business model. The old schemes of MAG and revenue proportions are over, are rather ‘end-to-life’.

“They may return later, but what is now really demanded from all sides is more flexibility, cooperation and new business forms in terms of departing pax, revenue and profit share. We have shown – and received the signal from our third party brands and operators  here – that we managed somewhat ‘okay’ through the crisis.”

The Terminal 2 Satellite is battling shop closures, with no plans to add additional capacity in the short term until passenger demand picks up.

He speaks about a paradigm shift that has taken place, from the value ascribed to commercial space – a predominant factor in trading – towards recognising the value of the audience or customer that the said space serves.

This requires different vehicles to achieve value, remarks Andersson, who points out that achieving stability in this respect as MUC navigates the crisis will lead to more ‘fruitful’ outcomes.

Retail revenue per pax has experienced an uplift, he confirms, despite the loss of valuable passengers segments from Russia, China and the Arabic countries.

Nonetheless, MUC has made concerted efforts to increase share of wallet, working hard to cross-sell and upsell merchandise to existing pax segments.

“We’ve seen some good uplift by adding new brands, brands that customers aren’t buying but are now joining,” commented Andersson. “We’ve been seeing uplift especially from our hybrid formats, having a higher share of online and mobile business and contactless payments.

Luxury brands remain an important component of MUC’s retail positioning at Terminal 2.

“We are working hard and I am personally very eager to reshape the duty free setup in Terminal 2; unfortunately it is still a walk-by concept. This isn’t paying well into penetration and capture rate but we have been addressing this.”

*Interview conducted on the eve of the release of MUC’s first quarter results. 

All images courtesy of Flughafen München GmbH.

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