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WHSmith opens curi.o.city in Belfast City Airport

Date: 19 Mar 2024

WHSmith, the leading global travel retailer, has today officially opened curi.o.city, its unique specialty retail format, in Belfast City Airport.
 
Curi.o.city offers today’s travelling customers a high-quality range of gifts, stationery and souvenirs,  categories where there is high customer demand, as well as locally sourced products.
 
In the new Belfast City Airport store this includes products like a handmade miniature wooden model of the iconic Samson and Goliath gantry cranes that dominate the Belfast skyline from local family run business Cowfield Design, which is expected to be a bestseller.
 
Products are also showcased in a store environment which reflects the culture of Belfast and Northern Ireland including local artwork.
 
The launch marks the first curi.o.city to open in Northern Ireland and is the eighth WHSmith owned store across the market. The retailer currently operates stores across key travel locations including Belfast Victoria Station, Belfast International Airport, and Belfast City airport, which has also recently refurbished and its airside WHSmith store into its popular one-stop-shop format, and officially opens alongside curi.o.city in the airport today.
 
Curi.o.city was first launched by WHSmith in 2023 and today the concept has expanded into 23 locations across the UK and internationally. In the UK, curi.o.city stores are located in London Gatwick airport, Bristol airport, St Pancras station and Selfridges in Birmingham and Manchester.
 
In addition, as part of WHSmith’s strategy to enter new markets and scale the group’s retail formats, curi.o.city also recently expanded internationally for the first time with its partner Al Maya, opening two standalone stores in the UAE and 15 concessions within Al Maya’s Borders stores across the Middle East.
 
WHSmith’s Travel business continues to invest in its store estate through new openings and refurbishments in existing stores so that it is well set up to serve today’s travelling customers.
 
The retailer recently delivered four store refurbishments in one week across multiple different formats including WHSmith Gatwick South, WHSmith Bookshop in Bristol Airport, WHSmith in Glasgow Central Station and an M&S Food in Plymouth Derriford Hospital.
 
Andrew Harrison, Managing Director WHSmith Travel said:
 
“Since launching curi.o.city last year we’ve had great feedback from customers, and we’re delighted to start offering our ranges of high quality stationery and localised gifting and souvenirs to the travelling customers of Belfast City Airport for the first time.
 
“The growth of curi.o.city shows how WHSmith can adapt and innovate to create strong new, bespoke brands and retail formats and we’ve been pleased with progress to date and excited about what’s next.”
 
Michael Jackson, Head of Commercial at Belfast City Airport, added:
 
“At Belfast City Airport, we are passionate about supporting local suppliers and giving our passengers a choice of high-quality products.
 
“Therefore, we are pleased to welcome curi.o.city to our Departures Lounge, which will meet the demand for excellent products with a real sense of place while allowing passengers to shop for unique and modern, gifts and souvenirs.
 
“We look forward to working in partnership with curi.o.city to enhance the range of retail options available at Belfast City Airport and to deliver an airport shopping experience that celebrates some of the best of Northern Ireland.”

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