See our new 2012 terminal guides to Shopping at Gatwick North Terminal
and Shopping at Gatwick South Terminal
There is no question that duty and tax free shopping at Gatwick airport • the UK’s second airport with just over 33m (2011) passengers a year • is excellent. The biggest problem is ensuring that you have enough time, having battled with check in and security, to explore and enjoy the offer.
Scheduled carrier check-in is generally not too bad, but the queues for low-cost carriers (particularly easyJet in the North Terminal) can be dire • taking up to two hours in busy holiday periods. Security can also be on the slow side • Gatwick South has an additional security point upstairs on the Gatwick Village level which can be a quicker route.
What we like about shopping airside at Gatwick is that the choice seems to be in tune with the profile of passengers using the airport (common-sense we know, but not always the case!) . The top five international destinations are Malaga, Palma, Alicante, Tenerife and Orlando, so • as you would expect • there are plenty of chances to stock up on flip flops, beachwear, sunglasses and suncream from outlets such as Animal (South), Beach Party (North), Fat Face and Next.
Nevertheless, the last 20 years has seen a steady increase in the number of business passengers using the airport • especially as Transatlantic flights and the number of scheduled carriers using the airport has grown tremendously (and now accounts for 70% of flights). Plus, in these days of cost-cutting, there are hundreds of men and women with laptops seated on no-frills airline routes into Europe. So, equally, you’ll find plenty of mid-price and designer brands such as Hugo Boss, Mango (North), Ted Baker, Timberland (South) and Kurt Geiger (South), as well as luxury names such as Harrods (South) and Cartier to keep everyone happy, whatever their budget.
Total retail space at Gatwick covers 28,000 sq m and both North and South terminals also have plenty of landside shops. Remember, however, that everything before security is at usual High Street prices; you’ll have to wait until you’ve passed through security before you can benefit from duty and tax-free prices. Accessorize, for example, has shops on both sides in both Terminals; though the choice may not be exactly the same, you’re better off waiting until you’re in departures to buy.
One slight negative is that the airport authority never seems to be quite satisfied with the shopping at either terminal. Changing layout here, refurbishment and expansion there, for both shops and food and beverage can sometimes mean that a shop or two may not be open. It’s all designed to improve the overall offer, and investment is huge, but it can be a little frustrating if you’ve planned to visit a specific shop, only to find it’s closed.
Gatwick South and North Terminals are completely separate and you cannot wander from one duty and tax free shopping area to the other. The biggest store in both is the World Duty Free outlet, offering a very wide range of liquor, tobacco, fragrances, cosmetics, beauty products, jewellery, confectionery and accessories at favourable prices. Spirits (available only to passengers travelling outside the EU) can be up to 40% cheaper than on the UK High Street and there are always special offers on brands, such as ‘Buy two, save £10’ on malt whisky. Look out for lines that are exclusive to the airport and check out sampling areas that enable you to ‘try before you buy’. Both Terminals also have World of Whiskies outlets where you’ll be spoilt for choice with over 350 to choose from; look out for Malt of the Month.
You can also save up to 40% on fragrances at World Duty Free and will often find the very latest launches here first along with travel retail exclusive offers • not just for smellies, but also for beauty and cosmetic products and confectionery. We all know that great deals on spirits and fragrances can be found on the UK High Street these days, so you can always double check prices and offers in advance on the World Duty Free website • www.worlddutyfree.com
Apart from the WDF stores, Gatwick North and South Terminals offer a wide range of outlets with tax-free prices offering a saving of 15% off the UK high street. When the sales are on you can pick up some great bargains (we love Ted Baker and Kurt Geiger)! For a full range of shops at both Terminals, check out the this website@ www.gatwick-airport-guide.co.uk/shopping.html