RUSSIA. Gebr Heinemann has detailed ambitious plans for expansion at Moscow Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo airports, as part of its wider growth drive in Russia and Central Asia.

Speaking to The Moodie Davitt Report (the full interview will appear shortly), Gebr Heinemann Directors of Sales Eastern Europe & Central Asia Bernard Schlafstein and Oleg Zhytomyrsk noted that the company was now “the market leader in travel retail in the Moscow region”.

There are big plans to develop space through Imperial Duty Free at Moscow Sheremetyevo this year, said Schlafstein.

“With Imperial Duty Free, in 2017 we had around 6,700sq m of space across all terminals. Through our planned expansion we will grow this to around 10,700sq m in 2018. That will come through our takeover of the former Aerofirst shops in Terminal F and the rebuilding of Terminal E retail into a walk-through store. Plus arrivals shops are yet to come as well as around 5,000sq m of shopping in the new domestic Terminal B. In all, the space will extend to 15-16,000sq m across the terminals by 2019.”

Through the Imperial Duty Free partnership, Gebr Heinemann plans a major expansion this year at Moscow Sheremetyevo (Terminal E pictured)

Arrivals stores could be open by August, he added, after legislation allowing the new channel was finalised.

Schlafstein said: “The target is to open the first stores on 1 August. The spaces are being allocated to us now. Arrivals shops will be in all of the major airports where we operate. We believe it will deliver an uplift though at the moment it’s not easy to say by how much. Travellers need to understand this new opportunity. We see liquor, tobacco and confectionery benefiting most from this development.”

As reported, Travel Retail Domodedovo – an alliance between Gebr Heinemann and local partner Greenway – was recently awarded an exclusive seven-year duty free concession at the new international terminal at Domodedovo, Moscow’s second-largest airport.

New opportunity: Impressions of Travel Retail Domodedovo’s stores once the new International Terminal opens at Moscow’s second-largest airport

Zhytomyrsky said: “The new terminal should be complete by this Summer in time for the [football] World Cup. We will have 7,000sq m to play with and we’re going to have a walk-through concept for the main duty free categories. We will also have fashion brands that are not yet present at the airport, and with which we are finalising negotiations. It will be a state-of-the-art duty free area at Domodedovo, something which did not exist before.

“The environment will be absolutely new for the airport and for consumers, compared to the existing International Terminal, which has many shops [in fragmented space]. Travellers can encounter the new shop right after security control, where they see all the main categories, and then fashion & accessories boutiques come after that.”

Schlafstein hailed the partnerships with airport companies at both Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo. He said: “Airport management are working very transparently and are very open with us. They are professional airport managers who understand what a duty free company needs. That gives us a good platform to build the best shops for the consumers. In addition, although we had difficult times in 2014, 2015 and 2016 in this market, thanks to our management at Gebr Heinemann we stayed in the market and never stepped away. We continued to invest and that has helped us ensure the outcome we have today.”

*The full interview will appear in coming days, with more details on Heinemann’s plans for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.