The promise of tax-free shopping is irresistible for some travellers, and many airports boast retail outlets to accommodate the most diverse of passenger needs, from groceries to sunglasses.
Opening new stores is just as important to airport business as finding new routes, so operators will often undertake multi-million pound renovation projects to create more space for restaurants and bookshops. Manchester Airports Group, the largest airport operator in the UK, is a good example.
The company recently invested £2m in the renovation of its namesake’s third terminal, with four new stores and an Italian café the most notable additions.
Andrew Harrison, director at Manchester Airport, said that the refurbishment addresses five “areas of concern”, including a perceived lack of seats in the departure lounge, and an insufficient number of information screens within Terminal 3.
The improvements reflect the results of a customer satisfaction survey, according to Mr. Harrison. However, the director intimated that staff had “more to do” to bring the terminal into line with customer expectations.
The new café, Trattoria Milano, offers the staples of Italian cuisine, namely, pizzas, pasta dishes, and salads.
The other new outlets are Swiss wristwatch manufacturer, Swatch, men’s accessory store, Tie Rack, Dixons Travel, and Rolling Luggage, which sells exactly what its name suggests, suitcases and other bags.
Online news source, North West Caterer, claims that an existing branch of Costa Coffee will receive a facelift later this year, to create a “relaxing area” in the busy airport.
Prior to the renovation, Manchester’s Terminal 3 had just four shops (excluding duplicate stores) and an equal number of cafés and restaurants. In comparison, the airport’s Terminal 1 has more than thirty different retail outlets.
Since 2007, Manchester Airport has spent more than £80m on improvements to its three terminals.