Wednesday 16 January 2019

Dublin Airport retenders stores after legal battle

Dublin Airport handled more than 30 million passengers last year
Dublin Airport handled more than 30 million passengers last year
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

The DAA has put the concessions for its lucrative electronics stores at Dublin Airport back out to tender after a legal bust-up last year.

The semi-State airport authority had put the contracts for two stores, one at T1 and another in T2, up for grabs in October 2017.

The stores are operated under the Dixons Travel brand, which is part of the Dixons Carphone group.

In April last year, Dutch retailer Capi challenged the DAA's decision to award US airport retailer InMotion Entertainment a reported €50m contract to operate the two stores.

Capi - which has stores in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, and Sweden - had submitted a bid to operate the outlets in early January last year.

In February, it was informed by the DAA that it had come second in the process.

Capi then took a case to the Commercial Court. It claimed that the DAA had breached Irish and EU law in how it conducted the competition, and had failed to answer questions about the award of the contract.

In April last year, the case was admitted to the fast-track Commercial Court, and the court ordered that InMotion Entertainment be made a notice party to the action.

Capi had sought damages from the DAA, and also a number of orders from the court, including that the decision to award the contract be quashed and that the DAA be asked to reconsider its decision.

It's thought that the DAA voluntarily decided to re-run the competition to operate the two outlets, without any court order being issued to that effect.

The two stores had a combined annual turnover of more than €11m in 2017. The outlet in T1 generated revenue of just under €6.1m that year, while the T2 store racked up almost €5.2m in sales.

Dublin Airport handled more than 30 million passengers last year, and in 2017 the figure was slightly less than that. In 2017, T2 handled about 12 million passengers, and T1 roughly 18 million.

The DAA has said the contract to operate the two stores is expected to commence on June 5 this year and terminate in 2024.

"The offer should provide a focus on theatre and promote passenger experiences in store, demonstrating the very latest technologies and brands," the DAA has told prospective operators.

It added: "You will be expected to provide a detailed marketing strategy to drive footfall and sales. These marketing plans must generate increased transactions, value and passenger average spends."

Irish Independent

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