Biza is born: Manchester Airports Group Chief Executive Geoff Muirhead (left) and Alpha Group Chief Executive Peter Williams in front of the new Manchester Airport store branding on launch day

UK. Alpha Group today unveiled a new retail and branding concept called Biza, which it claims will “radically redefine the UK airport shopping experience”.

Biza is being launched on a phased basis across Alpha Group stores at Manchester, Newcastle and East Midlands airports. A “full reveal” is scheduled on completion of what Alpha describes as the “amazing 22,000sq ft flagship store” at Manchester Airport Terminal 1 in the early autumn.

It said: “Biza is specifically designed to deliver a step change in the traditional airport tax and duty free proposition and Alpha’s objective is to build a truly consumer brand-led experience.

“The originality, creativity and vitality of the concept is characterised by the distinctive Biza brand identity, supporting an in-store experience that expresses the spirit and excitement of a journey by offering a balance of the expected and the unexpected.”

Alpha said it has been working closely with its business partners, including airports and suppliers, over the past two years to develop a consumer-focused premium brand. The end result? A “stylish, contemporary and effective retail experience that is aspirational yet inclusive for consumers”, Alpha claimed.

In a telephone interview from Manchester Airport, Alpha Group CEO Peter Williams told The Moodie Report: “We’re trying to address the way the consumer looks at airport retailing. Very often the duty and tax free stores don’t have a clear proposition.”

Asked if the Biza concept could be rolled out internationally, Williams replied: “Absolutely”¦ my view – especially now we have under the Autogrill banner Aldeasa, Alpha and World Duty Free – is that to maximise the commercial opportunity for the business, the shareholders and the suppliers we should move as quickly as possible to having one global brand that actually encompasses all those – just as you would if you were Zara or The Gap or whoever.”

He said that Biza was a reaction to the sameness of so many airport shopping offers. “When you look at the content of all these duty and tax free stores, 70% to 80% is all the same from a consumer point of view,” he commented.

Biza will genuinely push the boundaries of airport shopping, creating an experience that brings exciting, original design and establishes a unique brand in travel retail
Peter Williams
Alpha Group

“The Biza brand name was inspired by the desire to create an emporium or bazaar of interesting and seductive products while retaining an element of mystery and surprise,” Alpha said.

Biza’s black and white identity echoes those qualities with what Alpha claims will be “the classic, sleek simplicity of the most sophisticated and prestigious retail brands in the best shopping locations worldwide”.

The company said: “The Biza in-store experience is as innovative and memorable as the brand, with an interior design expressing a look and feel that is fundamentally different from the traditional tax and duty free experience. In fact, the Biza experience will be as original, exciting and memorable as its brand name.”

Working from a brief to develop a consumer-focused brand identity and environment, the Biza store has been designed by leading design consultancy HMKM. With experience in sector-leading projects such as NikeTown and Selfridges, HMKM combined understanding of the needs of major brands on the high street and, most importantly, astute awareness of Alpha’s consumers and their needs, the retailer commented.

“Every aspect of Biza’s design and development is driven by the consumer, including not only the brand identity but also how people interact with Biza in store. This holistic approach includes the positioning within the terminal, customer flow, and the materials, finishes and colour palette selected as well as the distinctive carrier bag design and the complementary way staff are dressed to a style but not a prescriptive uniform.”

In a statement issued earlier Williams said he was passionate about delivering a revolutionary change in airport shopping. He commented: “Biza will genuinely push the boundaries of airport shopping, creating an experience that brings exciting, original design and establishes a unique brand in travel retail – exactly the characteristics that world-class retailers consider to be fundamental.”

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