Muriel Zingraff-Shariff has been appointed as the new Director of Retail Concessions at the UK’s largest airport Heathrow, it was confirmed today.
Starting in July, she will become responsible for developing Heathrow’s retail business which reported an improved year-on-year sales performance in the spring.
Zingfaff-Shariff’s extensive luxury retail experience made her an outstanding candidate for the role, with high spending foreign travellers representing the core of international travel trade.
She is a previous CEO of Paco Rabanne, has worked at Jimmy Choo and was Board Director for Women’s Fashion at Harrods. Most recently she has worked for international private equity companies 3i and Oaktree Capital in the luxury retail sector.
“With its award winning retail I’m excited to be joining Heathrow,” she said.
“I am looking forward to working with the commercial team to develop the retail offering both in the existing terminals and the much anticipated new Terminal Two.”
In February Heathrow owner BAA reported an 8.4 per cent increase in gross retail income during 2010, with the number of high spending passengers growing and the average Heathrow customer spending 71p more year-on-year.
Airports are not alone in demonstrating the current strength of travel retail, with Network Rail posting a five per cent jump in its train station trading for the first quarter of 2011 – well above the high street’s performance – as time poor consumers increasingly enjoy the convenience of buying on the move.
UK luxury fashion retailers are also benefitting from strong tourist and international demand, with Burberry and Mulberry both reporting outstanding results recently, and so Zingraff-Shariff looks a perfect appointment for the airport.
John Holland Kaye, Commercial Director for Heathrow, commented: “Retail revenues are hugely important to Heathrow and help keep landing charges down. We are delighted to have Muriel on board.
“Her retail experience both here in the UK and abroad will not only strengthen the retail team yet further but also ensure our offering has direct relevance and appeal to the 68 million passengers that pass through Heathrow each year.”