UK. London Gatwick Airport’s retail income climbed by +6.9% year-on-year to £163 million in the year ended 31 March 2017, the company reported today. However, the key figure of net retail income per passenger dipped by -0.8% to £3.64. This was blamed on a temporary loss of retail space due to the renovation of the North Terminal as well as “challenging trading” in the tax free category.

Against this, food & beverage income per passenger climbed by +10.4% after substantial investment in Gatwick’s dining offer. [The Gatwick F&B strategy was outlined by Head of Retail Rachel Bulford at last week’s Airport Food & Beverage Conference in Toronto; a full report will follow next week – Ed].

Gatwick car parking income rose by +10.8% year-on-year, with net income per passenger rising +4.1% to £1.53.

Total company revenue climbed by +7.7% in the year to £725 million. EBITDA was up by +12.9% to £373.6 million and profit before tax hit £131.8 million.

The year ended 31 March was the busiest in Gatwick’s history with 44.1 million passengers, an increase of 3.2 million passengers or +7.7%. Long-haul traffic climbed by +13.6% with North Atlantic traffic surging by +38.7%.

Gatwick Airport: Lower net retail income per passenger blamed on temporary loss of retail space due to the renovation of the North Terminal as well as “challenging trading” in the tax free category

Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said: “It has been another record-breaking year and another chapter in the transformation of Gatwick. We have, this week, broken through the 45 million annual passengers mark which is 13 million passengers a year more than we served in 2009 when Gatwick came into independent ownership. It is a simple fact that, of the top 20 airports in the world by passenger growth, Gatwick is the only one with a single runway. Wecontinue to offer the UK a financeable and deliverable second runway scheme which we stand ready to deliver should the government give us the go-ahead.”

He added: “Gatwick has a bright future – we will invest £240 million this year as we continue our £2.5 billion programme to improve our facilities, improve our service and passenger experience, and improve our performance so we can realise our ambitious plans to grow even further.

“This will lay some of the physical groundwork for our continued growth. Improvements planned include an extension to Pier 6 and changes to the taxiway configuration to improve efficiency on the airfield even further.”

Among recent commercial developments, Gatwick recently announced that Jamie Oliver will bring a new flagship restaurant The Diner to the airport, while Reiss and Jack Wills have joined its airport’s range of retail stores.

How Gatwick Airport traffic has climbed and comparisons with other London airports