Should You Consider Leasing Space at Airport Mall?

September 14, 2018
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Leasing nontraditional space can work out better for some tenants than traditional space would. Multiple types of nontraditional space have popped up and become available over the past few years. For example, airport retail is booming, turning what were once purely utilitarian terminals into virtual shopping malls. You may be tempted to try to set up shop at your area’s airport. But don’t assume that an airport mall is an easy place to make money because it has guaranteed shopper traffic. Often, the variable is whether a specific type of retailer is suited for the airport mall environment.

When deciding whether leasing space in an airport mall is right for you, one of the aspects of your business you need to evaluate is the type of merchandise you sell. Not every retailer will flourish in an airport mall. That’s because the shoppers are also travelers, so anything they buy will have to be small, portable, and permitted on a plane. Aside from food retailers and bars, which typically do well, the retailers that generally do the best in an airport mall sell: books, magazines, and newspapers; cosmetics and other health and beauty aids; jewelry and watches; gifts and souvenirs; gadgets; and shoes and basic clothing.

A second aspect is the type of customer you attract. Shoppers in airport malls are often businesspeople who travel a lot for work and have money to spend at airports. If this profile fits the profile of your target shopper, then you might benefit from leasing in an airport mall. But if your target shopper is, say, a bargain shopper looking for discounts, an airport mall probably isn’t the right environment for you.

Also, keep in mind that space is limited in an airport mall. So if you’re a tenant that typically needs a lot of square footage, you aren’t suited for an airport mall—unless you’re willing to adapt your typical store format to a smaller space.

For an analysis of nine practical aspects of airport space that are crucial to your success there, see “What to Consider Before Signing Lease for Retail Space in Airport,” available to subscribers here.