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ARI Opens its First Airport Stores in China


ARI has opened its first stores in China.

The eleven retail units opened for business this morning at Kunming’s newly-built Changshui International Airport in South West China. The airport itself, the fourth largest terminal building in China, also opened to passenger traffic for the first time today following the transfer of operations from the city’s Wujiaba Airport over the past twenty-four hours.

The ARI shops comprise 650 square meters of premium retail space located in the post-passenger security area of the new terminal en route to the airline boarding gates. Trading under the same “The Loop” brand proposition as ARI’s stores at Dublin, Shannon and Cork Airports in Ireland, the shops offer a wide range of duty paid products in the perfume & cosmetics, fashion accessory, jewellery, confectionary and souvenir categories.  Overseas retail operators are currently constrained from selling duty free products or liquor at travel retail outlets in China.

“This is a key strategic development for ARI and DAA,” said Jack MacGowan, Chief Executive Officer, ARI. “We were involved in some consultancy contracts in China during the 1990s but we are now on the ground, for the first time, as retail operators in one of the world’s most dynamic economies and aviation sectors.”

“These shops, which have been designed and fitted-out to an excellent standard by ARI’s own specialist teams, also represent an important Irish trading presence in the fast-growing region of South West China.  We are confident we can build from this operational base to secure additional contracts in this region and throughout China and a dedicated Business Development team is currently pursuing opportunities in this regard,” he added.

ARI’s shops at Kunming employ more than ninety local people led by a small Irish management team. They stock a broad range of international brands and include some new features for the travel retail sector in China such as a stand-alone shop within a shop for the Origins skin care brand.

“We are really excited about bringing ARI’s long tradition of retail excellence directly to passengers in China,” said Alan Magan, ARI General Manager, Kunming.  Perfumes and cosmetics will be our largest product category, followed by handbags and sunglasses, which are also very popular with consumers in China. The majority of passengers initially will be business travellers en route to other cities in China, but there is a growing volume of leisure traffic, and golf is developing rapidly as a driver of air travel in this region.”

ARI secured the Kunming retail contract in 2011 following the signing the previous year of a Strategic Collaboration Agreement between Yunnan Airports Group, owners of Kunming Changshui International Airport and the DAA.

The new airport terminal at Kunming covers nearly 550,000 square meters (more than five times larger than Dublin Airport’s Terminal 2 and boarding gate pier) and is the fourth largest airport building in China.  The airport, which serves as a strategic hub for airlines serving South East Asia from China, will process about 24 million passengers this year. This is expected to rise to 38 million passengers by 2020. The airport has a design capacity of close to 70 million passengers per year, served by four runways.

ARI is among the world’s top ten airport retailers as measured by turnover.  The company employs over 3,000 people directly and indirectly in twelve countries including Ireland and is located in Canada, Barbados, Russia, Ukraine, Cyprus, Lebanon and the Gulf Region. Prior to Kunming, it opened its most recent stores in Delhi in 2010.

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