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Sat, Aug 12, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Airport retailers may feel the pinch of aircraft bans

AP , NEW YORK

The ban on liquids and gels from carryon luggage after a foiled terrorist plot may pinch airport retailers that mostly sell drinks and beauty aids, experts said.

Worldwide sales of duty free shops totaled US$27 billion last year, according to industry-tracker Group Generation, with alcohol, cosmetics and perfume representing 50.5 percent of total sales.

A prolonged ban could take a significant chunk out of sales, and threaten those shops specializing in wine and spirits or cosmetics.

"The uncertainty of it and the uneven enforcement of the ban could cause a 30 to 40 percent decline in sales at some stores," said C. Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group, based in Charleston.

It could be more for Duty Free shops because alcohol and perfume are the two largest selling products in many stores.

"I'm not sure if you can completely mitigate the loss of the sales. This could become a serious problem over the long-term," said Michael Payne, executive director at the International Association of Airport Duty Free Stores.

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