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Airports Take Flight As The Next Retail Hot Spot

Retailers looking for a reprieve from struggling malls are finding homes in U.S. airports.


A combination of consistent foot traffic and travelers who have extra time and money with few other places to go have made airports an ideal alternative to the traditional mall, and retailers are beginning to take note, the Wall Street Journal reports.

While Singapore, Dubai, London and Beijing have long offered mall-like facilities in their airports, the U.S. has been slow to pick up on the trend.

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport is one of the first to get in on the trend, opening a duty-free mall in the main international terminal in December. DFW even removed seating in one of the terminals to allow more space for retail. This also forces more people to stand and pace, driving them into the shops. 

The retail space is also set up to offer shoppers an experience. The shopping area is set up to offer a boutique feel that allows visitors to stroll through open areas at their own pace, while a second level provides entertainment and experiences such as tastings and parties. 

While online shopping has had an affect on airport retail, it has not impacted it nearly as much as malls or main streets. Dufry AG, which is currently the largest duty-free airport retailer, experienced an 8% increase in same-store revenue growth in the first nine months of 2017 compared with the same time the year prior. This was the highest rate of growth since 2011. Similarly, duty-free sales increased 47% year over year in January at DFW, the WSJ reports.