Heathrow Terminal 5 has come a long way since its teething problems of 2008. After 18 months of labour, the £40m redevelopment, which supports more than 175 jobs, was officially opened this week by Heathrow’s CEO, John Holland Kaye and style icon, Laura Bailey.
Luxury is resounding at T5, where Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Rolex, Fortnum & Mason and Bottega Veneta have joined an already impressive line-up of retailers, highlighting the airport’s fashionable reputation amongst high flyers. The terminal now boasts a collection of 22 fashion and luxury brands, each of which has been tactfully redesigned to mirror the store’s flagship location. The first Fortnum & Mason store and bar at an airport is a particularly exciting addition, standing as a world exclusive for Heathrow.
Christmas 2014 saw retail results hit a record high for the airport at £200m. Following a strong festive period, 2015 is set to be another impressive year, with one pound in every 160 expected to be spent on fashion in Britain happening at Heathrow.
“Your ticket to board is your invitation to shop” Jonathan Coen, Retail Director at Heathrow, tells Retail Gazette – and what a marvellous place to shop. There’s tea in both quintessentially British and exotic forms, twists on breakfast options, myriad luxury boutiques (which represent 10% of Heathrow’s overall retail space), tax free pricing to be taken advantage of and lest we forget, a new personal shopping service. Available to passengers who would like a bespoke shopping experience when they fly, the complimentary service brings together a team of accredited stylists who can collectively speak over 35 languages and provide a unique insight into the high-end brands on offer at Heathrow.
“We are trying to make life easier, whether for the international traveller who is looking for something new or the UK traveller who knows what they want coupled with speed and convenience,” Coen explains, “you can book in advance or simply roll up on the day.”
Heathrow welcomes a very international customer base, made up of those who are either purchasing British brands as gifts, or UK customers who are getting the first opportunity to buy into those brands.
“Luxury is part of the journey. At Heathrow there’s the luxury of craft and the luxury of design, with stores adopting a much more open space, making them far more accessible to customers,” Coen explains, “ Tiffany, Gucci and Burberry are opening concept stores; we are welcoming a new contemporary space from Paul Smith and we also maintain a direct relationship with Rolex.
Heathrow does lot of research with customers to understand what it is they are looking for. One of the measures from a customer perspective is how well customers participate: Heathrow gets 70% participation in its commercial offer and the average spend per buyer is £38.86, a good indicator that its offer is in line with customer expectations.
As part of high ambitions, a ‘Shop and collect’ initiative has been introduced so that customers can pick up items on their return, and UK residents can also benefit from home deliveries. Personalisation is being particularly pushed through the liked of embossed Smythson diaries and more.
The aim is to take Heathrow from being one of the best airports in Europe, to one of the best in the world and it’s “innovations in the service world, physical estate and a lot more around our relationship with customers, even before they come to the airport, that will get us there” says Coen.
Heathrow Terminal 5’s most popular fashion purchases over the Christmas period included:
•Louis Vuitton’s Capucines leather handbag •Victoria Beckham’s Hexagonal-chain shoulder bag •Mulberry’s Lily bag •Burberry’s Heritage trench coat