London Luton Airport is doubling its retail space to over 93,600 sq ft as part of £100m redevelopment plans designed to increase the airport’s capacity from 12 to 18 million passengers per year.
The new retail space will be comprised of 47 units split into four zones: luxury, affordable luxury, high street and food and beverage. There will also be a flagship 18,300 sq ft walk-through duty free store.
The airport has launched a commercial tender programme for retailers and brands interested in the new space, with most of the tenders due to open in May or July.
“We’re very excited by the level of interest in the [new retail space] so far, particularly from luxury and premium fashion stores,” said the airport’s commercial director Rupert Lawrie.
“Travel retail is one of the most attractive categories for brands. Not only does it promise profitable stores, but the broad catchment of airports represents a fantastic brand-building opportunity.”
Existing fashion retailers at the airport include JD Sports, Kurt Geiger and Victoria’s Secret.
Luton said it wants to attract more premium and luxury brands as 79% of its passengers are ABC1 (upper middle, middle and lower middle class) and a fifth are business travellers. Alongside the new retail offer, it is also launching a £1m executive lounge, with sleep pods and a spa.
According to monthly data compiled by the Civil Aviation Authority, in December 2014 Luton ranked as the fifth largest airport in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, behind Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Stansted. Annual results for 2014 are not yet available.
The travel retail market is currently growing at about 12% per year, according to French investment company Exane BNP Paribas.