„We are delighted to finally be able to get started,” emphasizes Raoul Spanger, Chief Operating Officer of Gebr. “Heinemann Duty Free is counting on BER as an attractive capital city airport. Unfortunately, our joy about the opening is overshadowed by new drastic measures to slow down the spread of the corona virus. Following the decision by the federal and state Governments to impose new severe restrictions on public life and mobility, the opening unfortunately falls into a phase that resembles a second hard lockdown in Germany. However, we are convinced that many people will visit our capital by plane in future.”
Local Sense concept: Berlin Wall and „Berlin Air“
Initially, six stores opened their doors to passengers in Terminal 1, covering a total area of around 3,000 square meters. In the Schengen area, a 1,660 square meter walk- through Heinemann Duty Free & Travel Value shop has started operations. A special highlight is the design: Heinemann Duty Free is implementing its Local Sense concept here with products and influences from the region. The internationally renowned Berlin architecture firm Graft has implemented this concept here. The fashion, art and design metropolis served as inspiration – for example, concrete furniture in the main store is reminiscent of the Berlin Wall. Popular products such as the Berlin Gin “Brandstifter” or Spreewald gherkins complete the “Berliner Luft” (= “Berlin Air”, which is a popular local mint liqueur) at the airport.
Two multi-brand stores for premium and luxury brands
In addition to three other Duty Free & Travel Value shops, two Fashion & Accessories/Watches & Jewellery multi-brand shops opened their doors on a total area of 680 square meters. They present a unique mix of several multi-brand concepts (different brands under one roof) and personalized brand corners (separate areas where only a single brand is presented) that bring the design and atmosphere of international department stores to the airport.
Here, travellers from all over the world can enjoy a Boss brand concept, a selection of sunglasses and a ready-to-wear collections from brands such as Armani Exchange, Hugo Boss, Polo Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein in the premium store area. Brands such as MCM, Ferragamo, Longchamp, Swarovski or Montblanc present themselves in the affordable luxury area.
Schönefeld Airport is now called “BER Terminal 5”
The opening of Terminal 2, in which another Heinemann Duty Free & Travel Value shop has been developed on an area of 760 square meters, is scheduled for April 2021. The former Schönefeld Airport is now called “BER Terminal 5”. Here, two Heinemann walk- through Duty Free & Travel Value shops were already located. Terminal numbers 3 and 4 are not yet occupied. They stand for possible new buildings that are to replace Terminal 5 in the future.
Adjustment of opening hours to the number of passengers
“It’s great to finally be able to welcome all passengers to our high-quality stores at the new BER. But the joy of the opening is clouded by the measures taken to contain the corona pandemic. We are working in a very cooperative partnership with Berlin Brandenburg Airport to bundle our personnel resources,” emphasizes Steffen Jopp, Managing Director of Heinemann Duty Free at BER. “This means, for example, that the gate shops will be kept ready for operations, but sales will not start until the corresponding passenger volume is reached. The opening hours will also be adjusted accordingly; currently the fashion stores are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The opening hours of the Duty Free stores will be adapted to the flight schedule.”
Efficient test strategy instead of quarantine
“We will probably have to continue short-time work until well into next year. We do not yet know how global mobility will develop, but we are sure that the travel retail market will remain an important part of travel in the future*),” says Raoul Spanger. However, he adds that this requires an efficient test strategy with clear guidelines. This is unavoidable so that business and private travellers can once again act quickly and flexibly. It is also more sensible than a blanket quarantine obligation, which means that trips are cancelled from the outset.