independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Eason loses out to WH Smith in deal to run bookshops at Dublin Airport

Eason, the books and stationary retailer, has lost the contract to run shops in Dublin Airport's Terminal 1. British-owned rival WH Smith won the contract giving it control of books and magazines sales in both T1 and T2.

Eason requested the Dublin Airport Authority to carry out a new tender for its stores a year early because of tough trading conditions. Sales in Eason's T1 concession had fallen by 36 per cent last year to €7.97m for a variety of external factors making a re-tender necessary.

The biggest reason sales fell was because of the success of Terminal 2 which handles long-haul flights where consumers tend to spend more on books, magazines and other items.

"We re-tendered and we are disappointed that we were not successful," a spokesman for Eason said.

Staff working for Eason are expected to transfer over to WH Smyth when the Irish retailer finishes its contract at the airport in October.

WH Smith's new five-year licence covers three airside concessions and one store in the arrivals hall. Concession fees will be based on a percentage of turn-over at a guaranteed annual minimum.

Eason took over the airport stores in 2010 from Hughes & Hughes chain who went into receivership. The company made an overall profit of €2.6m last year after making a loss of €5.3m the previous year. Group turnover fell by 8 per cent to €245m and costs were reduced by €6.1m in July 2012 by staff reductions and closing underperforming shops.

Managing director Conor Whelan is continuing a cost-reduction drive in the group while seeking to expand revenues by offering fresher products and opening additional franchise stores.

Irish Independent

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