Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fly-buy deal tops at BIA

Fly-buy deal tops at BIA
Swati Anand & Anshul Dhamija |TNN

Bangalore: Is Bengaluru International Airport the new Bangkok in terms of shopping? May well be. Frequent travellers have noticed that the steal deals at BIA outshine those in Bangkok, Singapore, Dubai or Colombo.
“On my last three trips abroad to Singapore and Sri Lanka, I shopped only at BIA on my return as the prices are comparatively lower. A 1-litre bottle of Scotch whisky at BIA is $31 as compared to $33 in Singapore and $32.5 in Colombo,” says frequent-flier V Murthy.
BIA’s retail is handled by a joint venture company formed by international airport retailer Nuance (which handles retail in airports in Hong Kong, London, Las Vegas and Sydney, among others) and Shoppers Stop.
The company also has the contract for the recently opened airport in Hyderabad. Both airports have roughly the same prices in their duty-free stores. “Be it liquor, perfumes, cosmetics or chocolates, BIA is currently among the cheapest shopping airports in South-East Asia. Although it’s difficult to make a categorical statement since there are promotional offers all the time in airports, we estimate that, by and large, prices at BIA are at least 10-15% lower,” says a company official of the JV, who requested anonymity.
For instance, a 1-litre bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label Scotch whisky normally priced around $33-$35 in most Asian airports and $37 in the US, is available at $31 at BIA.
Besides, the duty-free store at BIA is even cheaper than those in the Mumbai and New Delhi international airports, which according to travellers are 10%-15% more expensive than the duty-free stores in Singapore and Dubai.
Currently, Mumbai and New Delhi account for almost 75% of India’s airport retail.
Prices at the duty-free outlets are 10-15% lower
Cheaper than Mumbai and New Delhi intl airports
Fast-moving brands push sales rather than niche or limited edition products BIA aims to be shopping hub
Bangalore: With Bengaluru International Airport aiming to be shoppers’ Mecca, the company that handles its retail has come up with many ways to ensure attractive prices.
An official of the joint venture company, formed by international airport retailer Nuance and Shoppers Stop, said: “For one, we don’t stock too many niche or limited-edition products. As far as possible, we try to keep popular, fast-moving lines of brands.” Many liquor, cigar and perfume brands offer special packs available only at airports and stores stock more of these.
“Some brands have also made concessions for us, since they understand that these airports are new, promising markets,” he says. Brands which give away freebies and offers are prominently displayed. For instance, Givenchy is giving away a tote with one of its fragrances currently and BIA is stocked well on those.
The company is also making the arrival shopping area as attractive as the departure. “It would be great for travellers to discover that the deals they get here are better and do some last-minute shopping before they step out,” he says. “There are restrictions only on liquor and cigarettes. People are free to add on more perfumes and chocolates to their kitty.”
But, it’s not all hunky dory. The official admitted that in offering better prices, the company is taking a hit on profits. “Our margins currently are wafer-thin, but we’re looking at longterm benefits,” he says.
The company’s strategy is clear: in the short run, introduce the concept of shopping in airports in cities unexposed to this culture. In the long run, make Bangalore airport an international shopping hub and consequently, a destination airport.


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