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Checked in? Now you are a shopper

After visits to malls plummeted during the recession — and have yet to bounce back — many US mass-market retailers stepped up their search for other locations to lure shoppers.

business Updated: Aug 02, 2011 22:16 IST

After visits to malls plummeted during the recession — and have yet to bounce back — many US mass-market retailers stepped up their search for other locations to lure shoppers.

Places where people might be bored. And unable to leave. One time-tested answer: airports.

While luxury stores set up shops in airports long ago to attract duty-free international shoppers, retailing in many domestic terminals was limited to newsstands and the occasional shop selling coffee mugs and local smoked meat. The real diversity in airport shopping was in the food concessions.

No more.

“Airports are becoming, really, a service facility, like a shopping mall,” said Jose Gomez, senior vice-president for business development, Mango.

Sales per square foot are higher at airports than they are in mall or street locations — especially when it is raining or snowing and flights are delayed, retailers said.

While clothing, specialty luggage and electronics stores aimed at male shoppers — like Johnston & Murphy, Brooks Brothers and Brookstone — have been fixtures at airports, the new wave of stores moves beyond the businessman traveler to include teenagers, women and bargain shoppers.

Mango recently opened two stores at San Francisco International Airport. It will open one in the Orlando airport this fall and plans more airport locations in the next two years. Victoria’s Secret has also opened seven airport stores in 2010 and 2011.

The draw of the airport location is simple: an attentive clientele. NYT

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