Top Travel Retailers Report (continued)

Gebr. Heinemann

2021 Sales (million)


2021 Rank


At its annual press conference in April, family-owned Gebr. Heinemann revealed 2021 sales of €2.1 billion, of which €1.6 billion came from retail with the balance from distribution. Crucially, last year saw a return to profitability (before foreign exchange effects) for the Hamburg-based company.

That remains well behind 2019 figures of €4.8 billion (€3.9 billion from retail), but is a marked improvement (+31% year-on-year) on the figure of €1.6 billion in 2020.

Aiming to ace the beauty category at Frankfurt Airport

For 2022, the Hamburg-based company is forecasting that it will reach 75% of 2019 turnover, or around €3.6 billion, alongside “solid profitability” – which would be a strong performance considering that will be achieved without the benefit of Heinemann’s traditionally high-spending Russian and Chinese consumers, or its previously flourishing business in both Russia and Ukraine.

The Russia-Ukraine crisis has hit Heinemann harder than any other travel retailer due to its exposure to airports in both markets, alongside border business and a big supply network.

Building on solid foundations at Berlin Brandenburg T2

Key recent market developments include regaining the duty free contract at Düsseldorf Airport from January 2023, after a ten-year absence; a contract extension at Copenhagen Airport until at least 2025; a further extension at Gold Coast Airport in Australia and expansion of its footprint at KLIA2, the low-cost terminal at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

The family-owned company has ambitions to grow further beyond its European stronghold. Priorities for the group today include extending its Asia presence (in 2021 it opened its first downtown store in Macau); diversifying via new solutions such as its SmartSeller concept for smaller or regional airports, including in F&B; emphasising the distinction between duty free and online or domestic markets in its category planning and ensuring it generates more than half of sales by 2030 through sustainable products and with ‘responsible’ suppliers.

Smartseller: A concept for smaller airports that combines retail and dining options

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The Moodie Davitt eZine Issue 313 | 28 July 2022

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