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Retail 2015-10-05

Foreign retailers find Indian Airports apt for business

International franchise brands have tapped Indian market in a prudent and calculative manner. From malls to metros, high streets to small towns, offline to online; they have tactfully targeted the audience. Then how can fad and whim of airports remain unn

By Rashi Mathur, TFW Bureau Feature Writer

“Hey! Check out this, my new Mango dress. I picked this from Delhi airport while travelling to Malaysia.” This was the conversation between Alya and Maya while sipping their cappuccino. Shopping at airport is no more a lavish buffet that an elite class relishes but a standard broth served to the upper middle class these days. Like Alya and Maya, many of us have now become brand freak and are no more hesitant to shell out thousands of pennies to shop at the airport. 

Due to changing lifestyle, increase in disposable income and influx of foreign brands into the Indian market; fondness among Indian consumers for branded stuff has grown extensively. International brands are making the most of this opportunity and opening their outlets at the airports.

Apparel brands on the runway

The bulk of retail space at the airports is occupied by apparel brands. Marks & Spencer, one of the leading British retailers, recently marked the opening of its 50th store in India at Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport. The brand proclaims that its new store will build on the success of its world-first clothing airport store at T3 in Delhi, which has M&S’s highest revenue per square foot in India and is one of its best performing Indian stores. 
Lacoste, a luxe French brand is looking forward to open three new outlets at Hyderabad and Mumbai airports. Rajesh Jain, Director and CEO, Lacoste India says, “The new retail stores at airports will start contributing upto 7% of our total sales from the next financial year. Delhi and Kochi will be our target for opening retail stores.” The company already has an outlet at Bangalore airport and is exploring other cities as well.

Appetite for F&B brands

F&B brands have a great scope of success as the travellers have ample time between the check in and boarding. Cookieman, a brand of Australian origin has a heartfelt presence at airports via kiosks. The brand earns high returns by way of revenue per square feet from airport stores. Anupam Saluja, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Foods India Pvt. Ltd says, “Cookie Man has kiosks at airports which are points for a premium brand’s presence. Retail at airports presents the opportunity to reach out to a grand audience, where people awaiting their boarding call indulge in buying gifts for their loved ones or colleagues because they have the time. Footfall at the airport outlets is almost guaranteed.”

Subway, a US-based cold sandwich chain, is not far behind when it comes to opening at airports. Airport locations account for 14% of the total non traditional locations for the brand. “These locations offer great flexibility in terms of hours of operations and suit consumer preferences of eating healthy. They form an integral part of overall growth and development strategy,” says Manpreet Gulri, Country Head, Subway Systems India Private Ltd.

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