Competition heats up down under

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

Now this is what you call competition…

Thanks to the highly illuminated global insight and immense wisdom of the New Zealand Commerce Commission, Auckland Airport now has two retailers – DFS and JR Duty Free – competing directly just feet away from one another in both Arrivals and Departures.

dfs 6 excellent_Small

[DFS – refinement]

jR DEPARTURES 7_Small

[JR Duty free – local flavour]

The Moodie Report toured the new Departures zone yesterday and there is no question that the consumer is spoiled for choice.

Whether it is even mildy sensible to have two retailers offering a broadly similar product mix in an airport the size of Auckland is now a moot point as the Commerce Commission’s view has long been acceded to.

Faced by such stern bureaucratic resistance to its favoured one-retailer (DFS) model, Auckland Airport understandably went back to the drawing board and the DFS/JR rivalry is the end result.

I spent some quality time with the Auckland Airport commercial team (below) yesterday. They’ve done an impressive job in rescuing a difficult situation and turning it into a powerful, vibrant and consumer-friendly offer. And they haven’t finished yet – watch this space for what I believe will be one of the most iconic airport developments in the world. This is an impressive airport with a commendable focus on the importance of a quality consumer offer that comes right from the top (CEO Simon Moutter, who I also met yesterday). The commercial team understands the vital nature of real passenger and customer insight and could teach many a bigger airport some important lessons.

Adrian, Lucy, Paul and MM_Small

[Paul Divers, Lucy Thomas, Adrian Littlewood and Martin Moodie]

It’s an unusual, perhaps unique, two-way travel retail contest. It offers a fascinating contrast of identities – DFS all refinement, big brand beauty and liquor treatment and a walk-through approach; JR Duty Free busy, lively and bright, a department store formula buoyed by a really vibrant use of local materials and design touches. One understated, one more ‘in your face’.

aRRIVALS A 2_Small

aRRIVALS b 1_Small

Both companies seem to have sensibly resisted the temptation to enter a price war and the competition is edgy but not over the top. In Arrivals (above), one suspects, the courting of custom might occasionally heat up – passengers have a simple choice, go left or go right, as they enter the vast Arrivals shopping zone from either of the two entry points.

As the man said, you pays your monies, you takes your choice.

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