Dufry Group earns three-year contract renewal at London Heathrow Airport

By Luke Barras-hill |

World Duty Free, which has been running duty free shops at Heathrow since 1997/98, will continue to offer a blend of core category merchandise backed by the latest digital technology and customer service.

World Duty Free will continue to serve customers at Heathrow Airport for at least another three years after the landlord extended parent Dufry Group’s concession until 2029.

Under the contract extension, Dufry will operate a total of 24 shops covering a retail footprint of 13,000sq m across all of Heathrow’s terminals.

Fraser Brown, Retail and Property Director at Heathrow, commented: “I am pleased to renew Heathrow’s longstanding partnership with Dufry.

“Our shared top priority is developing and delivering our world leading retail experience at Heathrow, as well as growing our joint online and digital offerings. I look forward to continuing to work together on delivering the best airport service in the world.”

The Heathrow concession, which includes departure and arrivals duty free shops covering all the core product categories and a number of luxury outlets, is the largest single location in Dufry’s portfolio.

Julián Díaz, CEO at Dufry Group, added: “At Dufry, we are all very proud of the renewed trust given to us by our longstanding partners at Heathrow and of being able to continue serving Heathrow’s passengers with a high-class shopping experience.

Fraser Brown, Retail and Property Director, Heathrow Airport.

STRENGTHENING A ‘LANDMARK OPERATION’

“Over the years, the strong partnership and close collaboration between the Heathrow commercial department and our local team has created a high-performance operation generating mutual benefit and success for both partners. The Dufry team will continue contributing with its experience and dedication to further evolve this landmark operation.”

World Duty Free, whose existing contract was due to expire in November 2026, has been running the duty free shops at Heathrow since 1997/98.

By extending at Heathrow, Dufry reinforces its domination position in UK travel retail where it has a duty free shops presence at 25 airports.

Prior to the pandemic, the London hub served 80.9 million passengers (2019).

Last year, passenger numbers fell to 19.4 million; the lowest on record since 1972 with Heathrow being the only European hub to see a reduction in traffic in 2021, ‘due to tighter travel restrictions than EU countries’.

Retail revenue declined by 7.3% in 2021 (Jan-Dec) year-on-year, as a direct result of reduced passenger numbers.

In its Q1 results released last month, the airport welcomed 9.7 million passengers in line with its forecasts, spurred by an uptick in demand in March following the removal of UK travel restrictions on 18 March.

The airport has updated its 2022 passenger forecast from 45.5 million to 52.8 million, which would represent a 65% return of pre-pandemic traffic.

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