Injecting fun into the travel retail experience


We like to champion new concepts that add fun, creativity and vitality to the travel experience – and we’ve found one in ATU Duty Free’s new Toys Tunnel at Istanbul Ataturk International Airport (which The Moodie Report is visiting this week).

The retailer – a joint venture between TAV Airports and Unifree, in which Gebr Heinemann is a major shareholder – recently opened its first children’s goods outlet, a shop-in-shop right at the heart of its main 2,500sq m duty free store.

It’s a daring move in the current climate – but it speaks volumes for the ATU approach. Rather than adopting a defensive posture and devoting 35sq m of extra space to its high-margin categories, the company has declared its aggressive intent to broaden its product base, and thereby attract new consumers in a difficult trading period.

The reaction, says ATU, has been spectacular. Children are being attracted into the store for the first time, they’re being entertained and crucially, their parents are spending too.

The offer blends toys, games and confectionery, all neatly adjacent to the main confectionery offer in the store – a good example of categories feeding off each other, driven by need and demand, not by brand. Here, of course, the Gebr Heinemann touch is evident – the company was heavily involved in creating the offer as well as the design and execution of the store.

And that design is one of the store’s biggest assets. As the image above shows, the Tunnel makes a big impact both from the main corridor running past the shop, and also from within the shop itself. It’s unmissable and draws the casual passenger as well as the ardent shopper straight in. And the bright colours and drawings on the outer walls emphasise that sense of fun that most children’s areas – if they exist at all – are missing at so many airports.

ATU has made a statement with this new store, that it wants to inject fun and a sense of life into its shopping areas (its Old Bazaar does a similar job for its destination offer), and we think many other retailers could learn from its example.

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