DFNI Exclusive: Vodka takes gold as Sochi retailer revels in soaring Olympics sales.


A retailer at Sochi International airport has reported a more than 100% rise in turnover as thousands of spectators, athletes and officials travelled through the airport after attending the Winter Olympics.

Riviera Duty Free—a subsidiary of the Latvia-based company Vingo—operates a 208sq m duty-free store at the airport.

Company owner Victor Goshev told DFNI: “We have had incredibly good sales, we are delighted. Quite a lot of people have left the Winter Olympics already but there are even more still here.”

Because passengers can only buy duty-free on departure, Goshev is hopeful of a further rise in sales in the coming two weeks.

“We have already recorded more than a 100% rise in turnover, but many people are still in Sochi. Many of the Olympics officials, for example, won’t be leaving until next week. We will then have the Paralympics Games too,” he added.

Goshev said vodka had taken the gold medal for duty-free sales, followed by Olympic-themed toys and gifts in the silver medal spot, with fragrances picking up a bronze medal.

While business has been booming, Latvian Goshev made sure he also found time to watch his country’s ice hockey side in action.

Speaking to DFNI before the event, Goshev said that the Winter Olympics would be vital in boosting the relatively low number of international passengers. In 2013 there were 2.43m passengers, with international travellers making up just 11.8%.

Before the Olympic influx, there were just seven international destinations served from Sochi. The remaining international passengers take domestic flights to Moscow for connections, so have to buy duty-free there.

Despite the relatively small numbers, Goshev said sales had increased year-on-year since winning the five-year concession in 2011.

Key to the future retail success at the airport will be what happens in Sochi after the Olympics in terms of flights and tourism.

“Nobody knows what is going to happen at the moment. This will be crucial for the long-term impact on visitor numbers,” added Goshev.
Gary Scattergood