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Berrys to close Heathrow shops

Published:  23 July, 2008

Berry Bros & Rudd is to close its four Heathrow Airport shops after finding it impossible' to compete for space with other luxury goods retailers.

Berrys has had a presence at Heathrow since 1994, but has decided that it is now easier and more profitbale to reach an international audience through its website and retail outlets in Ireland, Hong Kong and Japan.

Berrys also has its traditional London shop in St James's Street and a factory shop' in Basingstoke. The Heathrow stores are to close within the next three months'.

Berrys' retail director, Robin McMillan, said: There is no doubt that the early success of the Heathrow shops put BB&R on the map as a supplier of fine wines to connoisseurs on every continent.

However, the world has changed since 1994 and modern communication methods make it possible to reach international customers in many different ways.

Airports are wonderful environments for luxury goods but the current combination of some of the world's most competitive retail floor space with the relatively low margins applicable to fine wines ultimately made it impossible for us to compete for space,' he added.

However, the unique audience Heathrow provides is ideally suited to our offer and, should circumstances alter, a return to that environment is not out of the question in the longer term.'

Mark Riches, managing director of BAA global retail and world duty free, commented: We obviously respect this decision and wish Berry Bros & Rudd every success in further developing their domestic and international business.

We will now take the fine wine offer into our own core business and seek to grow it as a category on the back of the success of our high-performing liquor business.

In doing that, I have no doubt that we will take on board the valuable lessons that evolved from Berrys' pioneering approach,' he added.