By  on January 6, 2009

PARIS — Signaling a more fashion-focused era for travel retail here, the European Commission recently approved a joint fashion and accessories retail venture between Nuance Group, the Swiss airport operator, and French airport operator Aéroports de Paris.

Set to involve 40 stores, covering a surface of 54,000 square feet across Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airport terminals, the new retail development is due to open early this year, starting with monobrand outlets.

“Innovative” multibrand concepts will be added beginning in April, according to an Aéroports de Paris spokeswoman, who declined to specify which names are to be involved.

Pascal Bourgue, marketing director for Aéroports de Paris, said fashion and accessories are considered a major axis for development. “This partnership with Nuance Group will allow us to benefit from the expertise of a travel-retail leader and to improve the attractiveness of our commercial areas with a more innovative offer,” he said.

Aéroports de Paris is Europe’s second-largest airport operator in terms of revenues, which in 2007 amounted to 2.29 billion euros, or $3.14 billion at average exchange rates for the year. Nuance Group, meanwhile, operates 400 boutiques in 60 of the world’s airports.

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