The company, in which Heinemann holds a 60.8% stake, was awarded a 25-year contract for the management of duty-free shops by operator İGA Havalimanı İşletmesi A.Ş (iGA).
Unifree will build Turkey’s largest duty-free shopping area in Turkey across 53,000sq m where 15,000sq m has been dedicated to core duty-free. “We will create a shopping environment that is far from the traditional and cliche form of duty-free shopping, offering unforgettable and extraordinary experiences to the customers,” said Unifree DutyFree shareholder and deputy dhairman of the Board Kerem Üstünkaya.
He added: “During this process, when the world will be watching us with much curiosity and excitement, we will organise special events for Unifree in our shops by using our current relations and by following closely the future trends. This way, we will be able to provide our customers the opportunity to have access to all the luxury brands at the same location.”
53,000sq m of retail space
The duty-free area of 53,000sq m will be composed of six sections
Duty free shops will cover 15,000sq
Activity and tasting stands will cover 6,000sq m
6,500sq m will be dedicated to luxury boutique stores
Arrival stores will cover 12,500sq m
3,000sq m will be dedicated to a bazaar concept where Turkish products will be sold and introduced to the world
Information areas will cover 500sq m
All in all, adding up to 53,000sq m together with other areas.
Unifree is plannng to invest €120m and gather more than 400 domestic and foreign luxury brands under one roof “with an architectural design that preserves the fabric of Istanbul”, said the company.
“The centre of global aviation industry” — IGA
Board member of İGA and chairman of the Board of Directors of Limak Holding Nihat Özdemir stated during the signing ceremony: “We have an ambitious target; and that is to turn Istanbul and our country the centre of global aviation industry. İGA will not only be paying 26 billion Euros including VAT to the state, which is the highest amount for a bid in the history of our Republic, but also make additional investments and break new records, while contributing to Turkish economy significantly thanks to the commercial volume we will generate.”
He added: “The duty-free contract signed with our reputable partner Unifree DutyFree is the concrete manifestation that we, as İGA, will not only limit ourselves with construction phase, but that we have already started working meticulously to offer the best service to all users once the airport is opened. Once again, we are witnessing how inspiring are the dreams we have for our country and Istanbul and how ambitious our vision and targets are. We are rightfully proud to have signed the largest duty free agreement of the world, knowing that the duty free will be one of the most exciting and spectacular parts of the new airport.”
İGA general manager Mertol Genç stated: “This agreement is the most important indicator that İGA’s vision, for which we have dedicated ourselves since the beginning, is also understood by the global aviation industry. Thanks to this 25-year agreement, Unifree – Gebr. Heinemanng group will leverage its local and global expertise and offer an extraordinary and pleasant travel experience to tens of millions of passengers travelling from and to Istanbul New Airport.”
Üstünkaya added the retail offer will include more than the tradional form of duty-free: “Passengers will be able to try luxury products in ‘Private Rooms’, will have fun in the ‘Game Center’, and will have an opportunity to refresh themselves with the help of experts in Spa, hairdresser and beauty salon. They will also be able to watch new released movies at the ‘Movie Theater’ equipped with the state-of-the-art technology, and while shopping, they will be able to leave their children in the ‘Unikids’ area where the children will be safe and sound.”
Unifree DutyFree chairman of the Board of Directors Cüneyt Çilingiroğlu added on behalf of Unifree Dutyfree: “This exciting development, which will be followed carefully both in Turkey and in the world, will add a brand new meaning to the shopping concept. Unifree DutyFree is ready to serve, to expand the borders of the shopping and retail worlds with its friendly and experienced employees at this location where ‘civilizations meet’. We are already proud to be hosting all nations the best way possible at Istanbul New Airport.”
“Thanks to our global and local experiences, we are aware of the fact that success is based on offering the best service beyond the sector averages. So, success comes with satisfied and motivated employees. To ensure continuous success we set up a team called ‘Unifree Academy’. This academy, in order to meet passenger expectations, will make sure that all the employees are trained at the best possible way, that they relentlessly develop themselves and that they always stay inspired. Our trained and experienced sales staff is ready to serve the customers 24/7 endlessly and with a tailor-made approach. Unifree DutyFree, thus, will become one of the biggest player of the Turkish and global retail sector.”
Unifree DutyFree is set to equip the shops in Istanbul New airport with the latest technologies in travel retailing with the opening of the stores.
The retailer aims to bring in 3-D hologram systems, smart shopping carts that have a charging function, mobile cash registers, electronic customer profiling and analysis systems among others. For example, a “Magic Mirror” application will allow customers to see virtually how watches, sun glasses, accessories, clothes and make-up products will look on them without physically trying them on.
Additionally, the electronic customer profiling and analysis technology will enable the retailer to trace the customer’s shopping history and identify their possible future needs, and this way offering them personalised products and services. Private vehicles and one-to-one assistance by trained sales reps will be available for disabled customers also.