Business

Kiosk space offers small retail prospects at MoBay airport

By Shamille Scott Business reporter scotts@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, March 16, 2014    

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MBJ Airports, the operator of the Sangster International Airport, says its commercial operation is seeing an evolution.

It recently introduced retail mobile kiosks in the halls of the Montego Bay Airport, as part of an incubator programme in a bid to involve small operators in the retail business and to test new products.

The kiosks, could make roughly between US$15,000 and US$25,000 in gross sales per month, according to Elizabeth Scotton, chief commercial officer, MBJ.

Some make a little more, some make a little less," she said.

Currently, there are kiosks that sell scented candles, locally made craft items, Bob Marley merchandise, souvenirs, spices and sauces as well as frozen patties.

These kiosks are ideal for small businesses who may not want to rent a larger store or isn't ready to transition into a larger shop.

What's more, these makeshift stores come with much more flexibility, unlike with larger shops that are expected to open and close at certain hours.

"The business is a seasonal one, much like other players in the tourism and travel industry," said Scotton. Adding that the low overhead costs of the kiosks is a tremendous advantage.

MBJ rents the kiosks to the operators, who also pay the company a percentage of their sales, she said.

"The contracts tend to be short, no more than a year, so there's an easy in and out," she added.

The chief commercial officer says MBJ has seen an evolution of its commercial programme and the company is bullish on maximizing on the thousands of travellers who pass through the airport.

There's also a kiosk in the departure programme - not part of the incubator programme operated by Rainforest Seafoods, where travelers can buy frozen lobsters, for instance.

"The airport's commercial programme differs from a shopping mall, it has a captured audience," said Scotton. "So the focus is to ensure that there are a variety of quality local and international products for the customers".

Since 2003, when MBJ took over, there has been a 200 per cent increase in commercial development and gross sales, Scotton told the Sunday Finance.

Among other initiatives of the MBJ to help drive the commercial business, was the introduction of duty-free goods for travelers who arrived at the airport with a duty free kiosk operated by World Duty Free Group. The compact store offers a range of popular duty free items including perfumes, cosmetics, spirits and tobacco.

MBJ Airports is a consortium led by Spanish based conglomerate Abertis and Vantage Airport Group (formerly Vancouver Airport Services).

The company modeled the retail mobile kiosks off the Vancouver International Airport's system, which is done by one Vantage Airport Group.

"Their programme has been fairly successful and we took lessons from them," Scotton told the Sunday Finance.

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