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Heinemann announces ‘solid turnover’ in 2021 and new mission statement


Travel retail operator, Gebr. Heinemann, enjoyed an upturn in revenues in 2021 despite ongoing travel restrictions in the wake of the global pandemic.

In spite of the restrictions, especially in the first half of the year, and the continued absence of Asian travellers, the Hamburg-based operator says that it “achieved solid turnover and focused on shaping the future by investing into the business and by developing a new mission statement”.

Key financials for 2021 at a glance

A major success for Gebr. Heinemann was to return to profitability (excluding foreign exchange effects). The Heinemann Group closed the 2021 financial year with a controlled turnover of €2.1 billion, around 44% of the turnover it achieved in 2019 and an increase of 31% on 2020 sales.

The result was supported by one-time effects and, according to the company is due to three reasons: Its consistent cost management in 2021, further savings were achieved through negotiations with business partners, and government Corona support measures in several countries were added.

For 2022, Gebr. Heinemann expects to achieve 75% of the turnover of 2019.

“Although we continued to miss Asian travellers in Europe in 2021, their absence did not have as big an impact on spend per passenger as we had expected,” remarks chief operating officer, Raoul Spanger.

“Travel Retail is on a healthy footing. Fewer people are travelling, but the propensity to buy continues unabated and many travellers are even spending significantly more money than before the crisis.

“Overall, 2021 has once again confirmed to us that it is important and right to be active in different channels of the travel trade and to stand on two strategic pillars with our own retail and distribution business. In this way, we remain stable and independent of individual markets.”

The company notes that Istanbul Airport (IST) remained an important hub for it in 2021 and at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Gebr. Heinemann and its local partner, the James Richardson Group, benefited from the continuing shopping enthusiasm of Israelis.

In addition, Gebr. Heinemann was able to renew important concessions and also to generate new business. In the coveted tender of Norwegian airport operator Avinor, Gebr. Heinemann’s joint venture Travel Retail Norway (TRN) continued to secure retail operations at Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger airports. Heinemann also opened a total of 19 new shops in 14 countries in 2021 – at airports, border crossings, on cruise ships and ferries as well as in a holiday destination in Macau in southern China.

Broken down by category, the Liquor, Tobacco & Confectionery range accounts for 52% of sales (2020: 55%), followed by Perfume & Cosmetics with 33% (2020: 33%) and Fashion, Accessories & Watches, Jewellery with 10% of sales (2020: 9%).

Human-centricity is at the core of the new corporate mission statement

In 2021, Gebr. Heinemann gave itself a new mission statement for its path into the future. The central focus of this mission statement is people, humans – the employees, suppliers, business partners and customers, political stakeholders and, of course, the travellers in particular.

Indeed, in its new corporate mission statement, Gebr. Heinemann formulates a clear vision for the future – The Heinemann Family. We turn travel time into valuable time as the most human-centric company in global Travel Retail.

“We are a family business – more human, more passionate, more reliable, more accessible and faster than others. Our business partners and travellers will feel this typical Heinemann personality, worldwide and physically as well as digitally. In this way, we can offer travellers around the globe even more entertaining, inspiring and sustainable shopping experiences. Or in the words of our vision: transform travel time into valuable time.”

A key element of the new mission statement is the sustainable impact, which has been anchored there as a promise to travellers. Gebr. Heinemann pursues a sustainable corporate strategy and has formulated its own Sustainable Development Goals for the ecological and social fields of action resulting from its global activities, which it aims to achieve by 2030.

One example of the implementation of this strategy is the sustainable category concept for responsible shopping, which Heinemann was the first travel retailer worldwide to develop.

As a first step, the ‘future friendly’ seal identifies products with sustainable packaging and materials in the shop.

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