Blue Water expands liquor area to up sales

27 August, 2008
Page 17 
Canadian border shop owner Blue Water Bridge Duty Free is battling increasingly tough trading conditions by investing in a refurbished and expanded liquor area.

Work should be completed later this year and will double the size of the liquor department . A wine boutique dedicated to local Canadian icewine is also being installed.

Leading suppliers have supported the retailer with customised merchandising units, many of which will be new to travel-retail .

"For instance, Diageo is building a Diageo Malts Vision unit, which will ­incorporate a holographic, inter­­active display into the gondola," vice-president of sales Tania Lee-Hartmann told DI. "Customers will be able to touch a screen, at which point a holographic image will come out at them with the different regions of Scotland and information on malts in that area."

Prior to embarking on the project, Blue Water hired a consumer research firm to conduct exit surveys at its store to determine the identity of its customers; how they shopped; what products they were looking for; and ways to to increase their spending.

"The [research company] then briefed the design company on the results and came up with a traffic pattern and category design layout of the new renovation," said Lee-Hartmann.
  • The Ontario-based retailer has seen liquor sales drop by almost 10 per cent this year, while overall turnover is down double-digits. Blue Water blames the poor performance on a slow-down in border traffic caused by congestion and delays due to tightened Customs security procedures.

    The cancellation of a tax rebate scheme for foreign visitors has also played a part, as has the incorrect belief among many US citizens that a new law requiring them to carry a passport when crossing into Canada has already come into effect (this happens in 2009).


Nick Strangeway


Happy customers across the UK enjoyed their first pints and non-homemade cocktails at the start of July as its hospitality sector reopened after months of lockdown. But normal service has hardly resumed.