Nuance opens smart new Malta Airport store

By Administrator |

Today saw the official inauguration of an impressive new Schengen departures area extension to Malta International Airport's terminal, complete with the formal opening of the new 970sq m duty free and tax free shop for

The Nuance Group.

The new outlet comprises several 'World of…' concept shop-in-shops covering a large variety of product categories.

The new duty free store is twice the size of the previous outlet and also incorporates beauty and wines – two concessions won by Nuance late last year. It also features a newly developed 145sq m 'Spirit of Malta' destination concept.

The ‘Worlds of…’ concept includes wine and Champagne, cigars, chocolate and the perfume and cosmetics section – featuring all of the major brands – has now increased from 170sq m to 335sqm, thanks to the new cosmetics concession won last year (Nuance already sold fragrances).

Adil Ra?hani, General Manager, The Nuance Group (Malta) said today that he was very pleased with the new walk-through store and added that he couldn't remember so much expansion at a small 2m-3m passenger airport in such a short time (see background below).

Readers may remember that Nuance's SWIFT – Easy Shopping! concept was only launched at the airport just two years ago.Today, Malta International Airport CEO Julian J?ger described Nuance as 'the perfect partner’ for this new development and added that Malta Airport's new retail model now looks set to stand out as a role model amongst small and medium-sized airports in the Mediterranean.

Ra?hani said that he was also pleased with the work done by The Design Solution on the store and he is now looking to hit a 24% penetration/conversion rate in the store, with much improved and enlarged check-out facilities. Anything above this level will be a bonus, he said.

Previously he said that queues at the check-out had been off-putting for other customers and even though passenger numbers are around 18% down with the current global recession, he is optimistic that the new store will now be able to entice more passengers to explore the smart new outlet.

British visitors currently account for around 40% of the store's customers and while the sterling exchange rate to the euro is not exactly helpful at present, Ra?hani said that the new store is such a vast improvement on the previous offering that he remains optimistic that its quality appeal will draw in more customers.

Background: In April last year, Malta International Airport (MIA) CEO Julian J?ger told shareholders at the company's AGM that the airport is expecting around E.25.5m ($39.8m) in guaranteed revenue from its contract with Nuance Malta Ltd over the next six years. But this was before Nuance won the wines and cosmetics businesses late last year.

Nuance originally entered Malta in a joint venture with two Maltese partners in 2005 after acquiring a 52% majority stake in the Maltese airport retailer ?Air Supplies & Catering Company Ltd.?, which already operated two duty free shops at Malta International Airport.

A year earlier in May 2007 Nuance unveiled its SWIFT shopping concept at Malta which was then a new debut shopping concept designed for those passengers pressed for time, or who go straight to their gates without visiting airport shops.

SWIFT – Easy Shopping! was aimed at passengers of low-cost carriers who tend to dwell at gates awaiting their flights, rather than make use of the airport?s shopping offer; and many frequent flyers, tired of airport shops who avoid the commercial area altogether.

The concept united all product categories, including food & beverage, in one single outlet, thereby providing a one-stop-shopping experience.

The new concept comprised a 107sq m departures store and a 122sq m walk-through arrivals store.

Prior to this, the main Tax and Duty Free shop was completely refurbished and enlarged to 425sq m in July 2006. The confectionery and toy categories were added to the offer and the shop was given a brighter modern look.

Nuance's contract now expires at the end of 2014.

[A more comprehensive report on this new operation will appear in the June/July edition of The Travel Retail Business magazine-Ed].

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