Speed, convenience and flexibility: the Nuance ‘Swift’ approach takes shape – 29/05/07

MALTA. Speed, convenience and flexibility are the hallmarks of the new Swift shopping concept pioneered by The Nuance Group at Malta International Airport. And if the concept proves a success, it could be rolled out to many other airports in the Nuance portfolio, says the retailer.

As we reported on Friday, Nuance officially unveiled its two pilot Swift outlets in Departures and Arrivals at Malta International Airport. The concept aims to attract travellers who can’t be convinced to shop at airports because they don’t have enough time. It offers a one-stop shop to the best-selling items (between 400 and 500 skus) across the main product categories.

Swift combines flexible shop fittings, which can be assembled and switched in just a matter of hours, a special focus on queue and staff management to avoid waiting times, regular promotions to keep frequent flyers interested and a strong “˜melon yellow’ visual look.



(Left-right) Registration begins at Suntec; TFWA President Erik Juul-Mortensen gets the first session under way

Clockwise from top left: Malta International Airport CEO Peter Bolech and The Nuance Group CEO Europe Jean-Paul Bonnel perform the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the opening of the Swift Arrivals store; The Nuance team celebrates the launch; Malta Airport CEO Peter Bolech says he wants to increase non-aeronautical revenues from today’s 30% share; The Nuance Group Malta General Manager Adil Raihani has high hopes for the Swift concept

Since its introduction earlier this month, sales levels are up by +11.4% compared to the previous year. In Arrivals, annual sales are expected to hit €1.2-1.4 million, compared to €800,000 previously.

The Nuance Group CEO Europe Jean-Paul Bonnel told The Moodie Report: “Swift can be summed up as follows: it has the best products, it’s the last chance to buy, it’s the easiest way to shop. We wanted to respond to new behaviour among passengers. This is an excellent solution for time-pressed travellers and for many smaller airports that want everything under one roof. It will also appeal to frequent flyers, who know the offer well, but who want to buy last-minute.”

Nuance aims to fine-tune the concept before rolling it out to other airports, initially in Europe. The first location earmarked for the concept is Bromma Airport in Sweden. Nuance said that the highly flexible nature of the concept means it can be ready for installation within 3-4 weeks of agreement with an airport.



(Left-right) Registration begins at Suntec; TFWA President Erik Juul-Mortensen gets the first session under way

The Swift concept combines flexible fittings, speedy service and a limited range of best-selling products

The official inauguration of the two shops also marks the end of the company’s retail refurbishment at Malta International Airport. In July 2006, the main tax and duty free store was completely refurbished and enlarged from 306sq m to its current 425sq m. The confectionery and toys categories were added to the offer and the shop was given a brighter modern look.

In the period from January to April 2007, sales in the main shop increased by +26.7% compared to the same period a year ago. Fragrance sales rose by +54%, liquor by 8.2%, confectionery is up +42% and tobacco +2%.

The Nuance Group (Malta) General Manager Adil Raihani said: “The UK passenger is the biggest driver of spend in our stores so we have to target their needs. We have increased the number of beauty consultants from three to nine to improve service in that category; we’ve introduced 70cl bottles in liquor so those passengers can see the value. When we took over the business in 2005 liquor sales were falling; we’ve since reversed that trend.”

The sales mix on Arrival is around 60% tobacco, 25% liquor, 10% fragrance with the rest spread among other categories, notably confectionery. In Departures tobacco accounts for just under 50% of sales, fragrances account for 24% with liquor at 16% among the core categories.

Raihani said: “When we took over the share from tobacco was even higher, unhealthily so, given that it is duty paid and low-margin, but big volume. But it does act as a crowd puller. We have changed the layout of the main store so that the highest margin items, fragrances, are at the entrance, and passengers make their way through the categories to arrive at tobacco towards the back. If you’re smart you can get people to spend across categories and to buy on impulse.”



(Left-right) Registration begins at Suntec; TFWA President Erik Juul-Mortensen gets the first session under way

Clockwise from top left: Nuance’s 425sq m main duty free store at Malta Airport; the high-margin beauty category is located at the entrance to the store after passport control; the key liquor and tobacco categories dominate the business

Malta International Airport CEO Peter Bolech said that the presence of the Nuance Group has enhanced retail activity at Malta International Airport: “Retailing has been one of the strategic objectives that the company has adopted since the airport’s privatisation five years ago. In spite of being a relatively small airport, Malta International Airport has developed an impressive range of outlets.”

He told The Moodie Report: “Our aim today is to increase the share of non-aeronautical revenues at Malta Airport, from the current 30%. The airport itself has tremendous potential. We handle just 2.7 million passengers a year, yet we have two runways. Now we’re trying to promote new routes, attract more airlines and add to our cargo business.

“Maltese tourism really needs to gain independence from the tour operators who have dominated the market traditionally, and that is happening now. There are new kinds of tourism emerging and the country is moving away from its reliance on the British tourist who wanted sun and sea, towards holidays based around Malta’s rich culture, its diversity, its beauty. We can play our part by improving accessibility to the country.”

Bonnel concluded: “We have a long-term vision for the business in Malta. We’ve been able to address the problems in that business quickly since we came here in November 2005. You’ve seen motivated staff, you’ve seen an airport authority that wants to do new things. Sales are on an upward trend, and where sales go, the bottom line follows, so we are very happy with Malta as part of the Nuance portfolio today.”

The Swift concept was designed by UK firm Bogacki Project and installed by Umdasch Shop-Concept. The Nuance Group (Malta) is a joint venture between Nuance (52%), Airport Investment (24%) and Demajo Holdings (24%). The retailer has a contract at Malta Airport until 2014.


Nuance unveils ‘Swift’ shopping concept at Malta International Airport – 25/05/07

The Nuance Group and local partners acquire Air Supplies & Catering Company in Malta – 24/11/05

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