World Duty Free Group makes its Nordic breakthrough in Helsinki

FINLAND. World Duty Free Group (WDFG) has won the tender to operate 11 stores at Helsinki Vantaa Airport – the retailer’s first business in the Nordic region.

WDFG will operate four duty free and duty paid store, including two walkthrough shops, offering the core categories of beauty, liquor, tobacco and confectionery. The group will operate around 2,500sq m for the core categories.

It will also operate seven specialty stores, totalling approximately 600sq m, focused on luxury product categories. WDFG will start operations at Helsinki Airport in March 2014. The first of the newly renovated shops will open in 2015.

Once WDFG takes over, Finavia will no longer have shop operations of its own at Helsinki Airport, and its 50 employees will transfer to the new retailer.

It´s unique geographical location – the shortest route between Europe and Asia – makes Helsinki Vantaa Airport the main European gateway to Asia
José Maria Palencia
Chief Executive Officer
World Duty Free Group

WDFG Chief Executive Officer José María Palencia said: “During the next 20 years, half of the growth of the world air traffic will come from to or from the Asia Pacific region. We are delighted to have won this opportunity to operate at Helsinki Airport. It´s unique geographical location – the shortest route between Europe and Asia – makes Helsinki Vantaa Airport the main European gateway to Asia with over 1.8 million of passenger on Asian flights in 2012.

“We know we can create a first world-class airport shopping environment here and we look forward to working closely with our partners at Finavia to take travel retail to the next level for its passengers.”

Finavia CEO Kari Savolainen added: “Finavia’s strategic focal point in securing the competitiveness of Helsinki Airport is a strong focus on customer orientation, from the perspective of airline customers and passengers alike.

“Leveraging on World Duty Free Group’s knowledge of the passenger and innovative approach to travel retail, we will be able to build at the Helsinki Airport an attractive offering of internationally high standard that will result in an enhanced positive experience for passengers travelling to or transiting through the Helsinki Airport.”

As previously reported , Finavia is planning a big modernisation of Helsinki Airport’s commercial activities, with the aim of growing commercial revenues by +50% within three years. In July, it announced it was conducting a comprehensive study of tax and duty free, retail, food & beverage and other services.

Last month, it revealed details of a €900 million development programme to run from 2014 to 2020, aimed at maintaining the Finnish capital’s status as a transit hub, especially between Europe and Asia. It will focus on increasing check-in and transit travel capacity and on growing traffic.

WDFG will operate 11 stores at Helsinki, including core category duty free