Blog: Dean BestBumpy landing for travel retail

Dean Best | 19 October 2009

Cannes in October. You'd expect it to be sunnier than the UK – and you'd be right.

There is, however, a bit of a chill in the air this morning (19 October) here in the south of France. And, for those heading to the annual TFWA duty-free and travel-retail exhibition, today came UK passenger numbers that will cool any budding optimism among attendees.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the number of business passengers at Heathrow slid by 5% in 2008 as the economic downturn started to take hold in the last quarter of the year.

As all in duty free and travel retail know, lower levels of business passengers means falling revenues for the airlines and lower sales going through the tills at airports.

Confectionery, seen as more affordable than other categories like wine, spirits and luxury goods, has been less affected by the weak civil aviation environment.

However, looking at the latest data from industry analyst Generation shows that duty-free and travel-retail confectionery sales tumbled by more than 9% in the first quarter of 2009.

What's more the CAA numbers are for 2008; the depth of the downturn since the turn of the year suggests 2009's numbers will be worse.


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