Monday, March 23, 2020

Airport shops may not take off after flight ban

Mumbai: The Coronavirus pandemic may wipe off a large chunk of the $1.4 billion airport retail business in India as sales at retailers and duty free shop owners fall to nearly zero amid widespread flight and ticket cancellations.
Top executives at the retailers said they are looking at stark empty spaces which used to be thronged by excited customers shopping for premium liquor perfumes and fashion accessories two months ago. The signs of revival are bleak. The next one-week, wherein all international flights remain suspended, may bring many of them, especially duty free retailers, to the point of no revival.
Airport retail is currently a Rs 10,640 crore market, according to industry statistics. Of that, duty free retail market accounts for close to Rs 4,000 crore. The industry currently employs close to 2,000 people.
“The negative sentiment also has a lot to do with it,” PK Thimayya, CEO at duty free operator Flemingo Travel Retail told ET.
“Duty free shopping is an integral part of the whole international travel experience. Now people are in a hurry to leave the airport as soon as they can, distancing themselves from crowds and relieved to be deemed fit to go after being screened at immigration counters,” he added.
23/03/20 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times
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