Edinburgh Airport has invested more than £5 million to make it a fantastic shopping destination for passengers
The shopping experience at Edinburgh Airport keeps getting bigger and better, in line with the airport’s own dramatic growth. Two years ago, an impressive extension was added to the airport’s main terminal, opening up the opportunity to provide passengers with much greater choice through 50 new retail spaces.
Edinburgh is growing fast,” said Richard Townsend, director of property and retail. “Recently, we’ve gone from one long-haul US route to seven, while Etihad, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines have begun flying regularly from the airport. That means we are getting new passengers with different needs. We know the shopping experience is vital to travellers, so we reviewed everything we offer – from shops to food and beverage, and car parking – and came up with some new ideas.”
The developments have included a much larger World Duty Free. Opened in July 2015, it has been an instant hit, with a near doubling of footprint and an increase in both high street and luxury brands.
Edinburgh now has one of the largest World of Whiskies in World Duty Free’s estate across Europe. As well as offering an extensive range of all the main Scotch brands, there are extra special ‘Rare & Vintage’ bottlings to be had. These attract serious whisky enthusiasts from around the world, some of whom are ready to pay up to £47,000 for a single bottle of the rarest single malts.
Having one of the largest World of Whiskies is an indication of the airport’s passion to represent both Scotland and Edinburgh.
Getting the right balance is vital, so airside shopping beyond World Duty Free has been split into distinct zones – ‘essentials’, ‘high street’, and ‘high end’, each of which has its own food and beverage areas.
That manifests itself in all sorts of ways,” said Richard. “For example, a lot of food served in our restaurants is locally sourced. However, we never forget that we are an international airport in a European capital city, so people can also expect to see globally recognised brands throughout our shops too.”
On leaving World Duty Free, passengers can stock up on essentials at places such as WH Smith, Superdrug and the Exchange Bureau. In the ‘high street’ zone, operators include Accessorize, FatFace, Dixons and JD Sports. The ‘high end’ boasts names such as Jo Malone, Mac, Kurt Geiger and the recently arrived Michael Kors. It also includes Scottish premium knitwear brand Brora.
“We were very proud earlier in 2016 when Brora chose to open its very first airport store at Edinburgh,” said Richard.
It’s not all about fashion and food. With an expanding share of the family market, the airport is conscious of the need to provide services for passengers young and old. So there are children’s play areas that allow parents/carers the chance to relax while their youngsters blow off some steam.
The strategy of delivering growth through offering choice has been successful for us and we will continue to pursue this passenger-focused approach,” said Richard. “Everything we do is about giving our passengers choice and meeting their demands. The travellers who come here are very discerning and know what they like.”
The airport’s business partners have certainly shown faith in its future. It is estimated that they have invested some £5 million in the developments that have taken place over the past two years.
There’s always something new at Edinburgh. Fashion store Next is about to open in the ‘high street’ zone. A watch and jewellery concession, featuring brands such as Omega, Mont Blanc, and Tissot, will be unveiled in the ‘high end’ zone in August 2016. On the food and beverage front, All Bar One will open in September, while it is expected that the existing Yo Sushi will expand and other well-known operators are already preparing to add their name to the menu of goodies on offer at the airport.
Meanwhile, November will see the opening of a multi-brand fashion unit, featuring the likes of Barbour, Superdry and Ted Baker. Richard concluded: “All of these changes show that we are determined to get the very best for Edinburgh. “We’re never satisfied and always looking to see what more we can offer our passengers.”