WHSmith returns to Asia with new stores at KLIA and Langkawi
Source: ©The Moodie Report
By John Rimmer
How the new WHSmith store in Kuala Lumpur International Airport will look upon its opening this summer
Press and convenience specialist WHSmith is to return to Asian travel retail this year for the first time since completing the sale of its regional business in 2004. The company, one of the world’s biggest travel retailers with over 1,100 stores across the world, is to open stores at two leading Malaysian airports, Kuala Lumpur International (KLIA) and Langkawi, in a significant boost to its international ambitions.
In partnership with local retailer Bison Stores, owner of myNEWS.com, WHSmith will shortly open an outlet in KLIA offering a wide selection of books, magazines, stationery, travel accessories and convenience goods. Two stores at Langkawi Airport will also be opened this summer.
Malaysia Airports Senior General Manager Commercial Services Puan Faizah Khairuddin welcomed the retailer to its airport network, commenting: “Travelling presents a great opportunity to read books and magazines. With the opening of WHSmith, passengers will have access to a wide range of reading material from a world-class book store, underscoring the Malaysian Government's drive towards a deeper appreciation of reading.
“Additionally, WHSmith’s expertise in operating in fast-paced travel environments with a truly unique integrated product offer on hand to meet all travel needs, including travel essentials, snacks and drinks, means international passengers travelling through Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi will be superbly catered for.”
WHSmith Chief Executive Kate Swann said: “We are excited to be opening our first Asian stores in Malaysia and look forward to bringing WHSmith’s extensive product range to customers at Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi airports.”
The news marks a significant milestone for WHSmith, which ran a wide network of travel retail outlets in Asia Pacific before divesting the business in 2004. Over the past two years the company has made clear its determination to develop internationally, and has built a new development team
under the leadership of travel retail head Simon Smith and Director of International Business Louis de Bourgoing. Recently the retailer embarked on an ambitious development plan in Australasian travel retail, and now operates a number of outlets at Sydney and Melbourne airports. It expects to announce further travel retail openings soon.
WHSmith (seen here at London Gatwick) operates one of the world's widest networks of travel retail outlets