Brussels Pier A: ‘total shopping experience’

The new retail space incorporates luxury with high street shopping brands, to cater for both the business and budget traveller.

The new retail space incorporates luxury with high street shopping brands, to cater for both the business and budget traveller.

Brussels Airport handles over 17.8 million passengers every year, with retail and food and beverage currently contributing to 38% of commercial revenues. The new €2.8 million Pier A shopping centre has been created in response to passenger demand for a bigger, more diverse and modern airside shopping experience. “After extensive research into the needs of 2,300 passengers, the main requirements included new, major international brands and Belgian brands, new concepts following the latest trends and more price ranges,” said Staelens, whose aim is to offer a “total shopping experience” rivalling the diverse mix offered by Belgium’s street retailers.

Last year, Autogrill Belux renewed the majority of its food and beverage concession contract at Brussels Airport and is now playing a key role in providing customers with new retail concessions. These include more than 20 new ‘experience’ and ‘food and drink’ concepts featuring major, international brands. “The strategy of both Brussels Airport and Autogrill Belux is aimed at developing a premium and segmented service for the business traveller and a broad, competitively priced offering for the price-conscious traveller,” said Van Avermaet.

Among the ‘experience concepts’ provided by Belgian Sky Shops and Autogrill Belux, passengers can visit ‘Epicure’, where high-end wines, whiskys, champagnes and cigars can be tried and purchased and ‘Beaudevin’ – an exclusive wine and tapas bar. Other concessions include high street brands such as Puma, Massimo Dutti and Esprit to cater for mainstream shoppers. Later this year, Autogrill Belux will open a Starbucks Coffee store and Panos bakery outlet in Pier A, with further developments expected next year. In addition, Pier A has a worldwide lowest price guarantee on its major chocolate brands.

Expansion strategy

The master development plan for Brussels Airport is a key focus for Autogrill Belux, said Van Avermaet. “The openings tie in perfectly with our expansion strategy and the plan to upgrade the retail area of Brussels Airport, which will offer more convenience to passengers. Autogrill’s priority is to develop powerful new concepts which will continue to meet their needs.”
As well as operating food and drinks outlets, Autogrill Belux also manages all airport lounges at Brussels airport.

The new retailing in Pier A will ensure Brussels maintains its projections for further growth, explained Staelens. “The development contributes to all our strategic objectives. It will help Brussels airport reach passenger growth targets above the EU average and will accelerate commercial growth from 30% of our total revenues to 40% over the coming years,” he said.

With a view to further improving services, Staelens added: “We would like to see continuous improvement of existing retail concepts in the electronics, media, entertainment and music category.”

The airport is currently involved in other major commercial projects, including a new supermarket in arrivals, due to be opened next month. “We will be constructing a shopping centre in the middle of Pier B, to enforce our ‘India hub’ with Jet Airways and the shopping experience for our other long haul carriers, as well as a landside shopping mall,” said Staelens.

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