Fast-fashion retailer Zara will open a womenswear store at Heathrow Terminal 3 next week – its first-ever airport outlet.
The Spanish chain’s 3,000 sq ft space – three times the size of Heathrow’s average fashion retail space, making it the second-biggest fashion store at the airport after Harrods – opens on November 9 within Terminal 3’s retail zone, alongside HMV and WHSmith.
Heathrow is looking to grow its high street retail offer, which occupies a separate area to Terminal 3’s predominantly luxury offer and is differentiated via design elements including seating colour schemes.
According to Simon Black, senior account manager for fashion retail concessions at Heathrow, the lack of retail space to support the high-volume, low-margin business models of high street womenswear has prevented high street retailers from entering airport locations, despite the “phenomenal” performance due to “exceptionally high-quality passenger traffic”.
As a result, Zara will offer a distilled version of its main womenswear and accessories collections and will forgo menswear. The storefit will follow the cleaner, more modern concept recently unveiled at Westfield Stratford.
As part of the agreement to support Zara’s high-volume model, the airport has provided remote and backup storage space, permitting Zara to install a team that will pre-merchandise stock and process daily deliveries.
“In the past, we’ve failed to get traction from high street brands because they’ve always wanted 8,000 sq ft stores and found it difficult to get their heads round such small store formats,” said Black.
“It’s taken both of us to make this happen. We needed to create [the infrastructure] for those stores and make significant change to the way we work. They needed to condense their ranges.”
Zara’s will be the largest non-multi-branded fashion store at Heathrow. Harrods in Terminal 5 is the largest multi-brand fashion store.
In the UK, Zara, owned by Spanish fashion giant Inditex, made a pre-tax profit of £618,692 in its full year to January 31, 2010. This compared with a £20m loss the previous year.