Has see, buy, fly had its day? passengers spent less at Schiphol shops

The La Place cafe at Schiphol airport. Photo: La Place

Travellers are spending less each year at Schiphol airport’s retail shops once they pass through security and customs checks, the Financieele Dagblad said on Tuesday.

‘Duty-free’ sales have been falling by an annual 2% to 4% since 2012, said André van den Berg, Schiphol’s chief commercial officer. ‘Retail has problems, even at Schiphol.’

On Thursday, the airport is re-opening its Holland Boulevard which has retail and museum shops, a library and lounges. Van den Berg said passengers are now spending more on food and drink while retail sales flounder.

Van den Berg expects the renewed departure lounges and improved shop offerings will reverse the trend. A large hanging red-white and blue porcelein cow draws attention in Lounge 2 which attracts many transit passengers. In the Johnnie Walker House special Dutch label whiskey is sold for €583 in a Delft-blue bottle. ‘These shops sell something unique,’ Van den Berg said.

Schiphol needs the retail revenue streams: nearly half of the group’s operating profit is derived from parking fees and rents for the airport’s 300 shops and restaurants, both air-side and land-side.