RETAILERS at Heathrow are bucking the gloom in the high street with an 8.8 per cent rise in gross turnover in 2011, fuelled by a growing number of shoppers from the BRIC nations, the airport said yesterday.
Heathrow reported record annual traffic last month, and its shops are cashing in on this jump by offering more lucrative luxury brands.
Retail sales topped £1.7bn in 2011, a record for the hub airport, which is operating at close to full capacity and lobbying the government for permission to expand.
The average passenger spent £4.35 in Heathrow’s shops last year, it said yesterday – but flyers from Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRICs) splashed out an average of £45.50 per head.
Heathrow said its new Miu Miu concession and pop-up stores for brands like Chanel are helping bring in more discerning shoppers.
Duty free sales also rose 12.7 per cent during the year.
“We now have passengers who are choosing to fly through Heathrow specifically to pick up items sold here,” said retail concessions director Muriel Zingraff.
Passenger spending, which includes shop purchases as well as other charges such as car parking and vehicle rental, rose 9.9 per cent to contribute £391.4m to BAA’s revenues last year, the firm said last month.
Heathrow says its sales put it above Dubai airport, which reported duty-free turnover of $1.46bn (£929m) last year, and Incheon in South Korea, which claimed duty-free sales of $1.53bn.
Fashionista Florrie Arnold with a bag from Miu Miu