Airport retail – Dufry completes business combination with Autogrill; airport retail sector reviving

Premium Analysis

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2020 and early 2021 prospects could not have been worse for airport retailers.

With airports handling a fraction of their usual passenger throughput, shops, duty free stores, restaurants and bars were empty. Some closed, never to reopen.

Those that remained have bounced back more rapidly than expected, on account of a variety of factors, as well as changing fashions among their customers.

There is greater innovation than ever among individual concessionaires but the entire segment remains under the control of a small clique of retail giants, and that pool just got smaller still with the merger between Dufry and Autogrill.

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