The thrill of travel retail in Oslo

I’m in Oslo this week for the 21st ACI Europe Trading Conference & Exhibition, one of the key annual gatherings of the airport commercial world. And refreshingly, I’m also back in one of my favourite duty free regions: the Nordics.

Many of the travel retail stores in this part of Europe still exude real excitement, whether they’re on board a ferry or an airline or in an airport.

Today, I had my first taste of Arrivals duty free shopping, Norwegian style – the last time (pre-2005) I was here duty free still meant Departures only.

And what a buzz there was in the newly branded Heinemann Duty Free store at Gardermoen. Although you have to make a decision to turn left into the store rather than head for the baggage belts, it seemed that almost everyone did so – so ingrained is the culture of Arrivals shopping in Oslo now.

The liquor zone at the entrance to the 1,650sq m store was awash with returning Norwegians, all grabbing for the discount deals on Italian and other wines; confectionery was a popular purchase too; the beauty areas were busy while the tobacco zone did a roaring trade in snus.

The tills at the end of the Arrivals store were all busy – where Heinemann Duty Free proclaimed its new look to travellers through some catchy advertising (below).

If you didn’t see the numbers going through the store, then a glance at the vast number of shopping bags on board the Airport Express into downtown Oslo would tell you much about the popularity of this shopping channel.

Gebr Heinemann has invested hugely in its stores across this airport and others in Norway to create a smart, vibrant new look. From what I saw today, it’s an investment that the locals have responded to with gusto.

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