It has been a tough 12 months for BAA’s UK airports, but figures released today show that net retail income per passenger (NRI) at Heathrow and Stansted grew significantly in 2010.
NRI increased 12.1 per cent year-on-year to £5.29, led by Heathrow where the average passenger spent 71p more than 2009.
Gross retail income (GRI) at Stansted was down 5.6 per cent to £83.1 million, but an improved performance by Heathrow helped BAA’s total GRI grow by 8.4 per cent to £476.3 million.
Airside specialist shops drove retail growth at both airports, while car park revenue - which is included in the retail sales data - picked up on last year.
A statement from BAA released today said: “Heathrow’s excellent retail performance reflects the increase in the proportion of higher spending origin and destination passengers from 63 per cent in 2009 to 65 per cent in 2010.
“This benefits both the in-terminal and car parking elements of retail income.
“The performance also reflects the greater numbers of passengers utilising Terminal 4 following relocation of airlines prior to Terminal 2’s closure who are benefiting from its upgraded retail facilities completed as part of the terminal’s recent refurbishment.”
All of this comes despite passenger traffic being severely affected by the volcanic ash cloud last spring, as well as various staff strikes throughout the year and heavy snowfall in December.
Towards the end of last year, when the big freeze effectively brought the UK airports to a standstill, many of the airside retail areas were deserted for days at a time.
Retailers were left to serve a customer base made up primarily of airport staff, and a number of outlets were forced to close early due to lack of trade.
Despite this, BAA said that group passenger traffic reached 84.3 million in 2010, with revenue from all arms of the business growing 4.9 per cent year-on-year.
Adjusted EBITDA increased 9.2 per cent, which has allowed the group to make significant capital investment at Heathrow.
Colin Matthews, CEO of BAA, commented: “We delivered a robust financial performance in 2010, despite the volcanic ash, strikes and snow that affected major airports across Europe and North America.
“Strong passenger growth at Heathrow in the second half of the year reflected the ongoing improvement in the global economic climate.”