Nuance breaks into Russia after $1 billion St Petersburg win

By Kevin Rozario |

The Nuance Group will debut in Russia in early 2014 following a major coup at St Petersburg Pulkovo Airport where it has been awarded a seven-year duty free concession valued at $1,072m (€800m). understands from sources close to the deal that Nuance will partner with the airport’s long-time incumbent duty free operator Lenrianta which is expected to have a minority stake in the new retail operation.


Nuance’s scoop of the three retail lots (two core categories and one speciality licence) located in a new terminal gives it 3,183sq m of retail space that will serve about four million departing international passengers. The construction of the 130,000sq m New Centralised Passenger Terminal is estimated by airport manager, Northern Capital Gateway, to be completed by the end of 2013. An adjacent north pier will have 9,400sq m.



This is the third award for the Switzerland-based retailer since the beginning of the year after adding concessions in Bulgaria and Mumbai. And understands that the company is the frontrunner to win the Bangalore (India) duty free tender to add to its tally [the result was due out at the start of this month-Ed].


Roberto Graziani (right), President and CEO of The Nuance Group, says: “We were able to secure this concession thanks to the excellent commercial proposal made up by our European team. This win is further recognition of our excellent strengths both in core and speciality categories.”


Some 1,910sq m of retail space will be allocated to a walk-through duty free store including beauty, liquor, tobacco and confectionery. The speciality licence covers 11 stores including Swarovski, Salvatore Ferragamo, Burberry, Bulgari, Sun Catcher, Temptation, Atelier, Master of Time and a dedicated store for electronics, travel accessories and toys.


A destination store, Spirit of St Petersburg (left), will be located in the new terminal building. In addition, an express duty free store proposing an assortment of top sellers across all categories will be located in the north pier.


Nuance says its retail concept is tailored to Pulkovo Airport by referencing the cultural, historic and architectural heritage of St Petersburg. The company adds: “The concept represents innovative design solutions with a strong focus on category management. It makes consumers feel special through features such as a dedicated lounge for liquor connoisseurs (left), vodka boutique including a tasting bar, luxury fragrance boutique, walk-in humidor for cigars as well as dedicated space for men’s beauty.”


The retailer adds that the store will also include an interactive digital approach with augmented reality solutions; another first for Pulkovo.



Andrea Belardini (left), CEO The Nuance Group Europe explains: “This concept will become a landmark in the Russian travel retail market. It builds from the strengths of our well-known and tested core categories concept, as well as our experience in managing a diversified portfolio of speciality solutions.


“At the forefront of our objectives was to ensure that the management of Pulkovo could be proud of ‘owning’ a special shopping experience. A strong sense of place is delivered through the idea of ‘Venice of the North’, which is realised through the representation of canals becoming a red thread on the shop ceiling guiding passengers thorough the walk-through store.


“I wish to thank the numerous teams who have worked on this exciting project, our design partner The Design Solution for their great support and the Pulkovo Airport management for their confidence in us.”


Evgeniy Ilyin (left), Commercial Director at St Petersburg Pulkovo International Airport, comments: “The Nuance Group has created a unique ‘sense of place’ for the new terminal which will ideally complement the interior design of the airport and we believe will provide a superior customer experience.


“We congratulate Nuance on its outstanding proposal including commercial and operational strategies for maximising revenues. We are confident that cooperation between Nuance and a strong local partner, which has great experience in the Russian market, will benefit both the airport and its passengers. This award is a major milestone for our commercial team.”


Pulkovo is the third largest airport in the Russian Federation after Moscow’s Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo airports. It services more than 11m passengers annually through 31 international, 21 Russian and 14 CIS airlines. The airport’s target is to achieve a passenger capacity of 35 million by 2040.


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