Arriving in style at Geneva Airport

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

The introduction of Arrivals duty free shops at Swiss airports – legislation permitting the concept came into effect on 1 June – is set to have a profound impact on intra-airport shopping dynamics in Europe, and possibly beyond.

Not only will Swiss airports such as Geneva, Zῢrich and Basel benefit from much-enhanced revenues (remember European Union countries cannot have duty free Arrivals shops, only duty paid) but those airports with significant Switzerland-bound traffic (London City Airport comes to mind) could be hard hit as travellers opt to avoid the hassle of carrying bottles or other items with them.

My first look at one of the new generation stores came last week during a whistlestop visit to Geneva. The Nuance Group’s surprisingly sizable store suggests the retailer is convinced that trade will grow to a very significant level. It’s a walk-through offer featuring a well-balanced and extensive range within each of the traditional duty free categories.

There’s an excellent cigarettes selection and I was impressed with the spacious, unfussy shop with its very clean lines and unobtrusive shopping area.

I returned the next day through London Heathrow Airport Terminal 1 and the comparison with the Arrivals shop run by World Duty Free, (one of its outlets is pictured below), was not flattering to the UK retailer. I know that its store is duty paid but that’s not the point. It’s dull, dirty and tired and the only sign of activity comes, as I noted in an earlier Blog, from staff selling tickets for the Heathrow Express in the middle of the store.  If you’re going to tout for business make it your own, surely?

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