Executive vacancies

Date Posted
April 2013
Job TitleHead of Space Planning & Retail Operations (London Heathrow Airports Ltd)
LocationHeathrow Airport, London

Role and Responsibilities:

Reports to:                  Retail Concessions Director

Grade:                         CSM (Commercial Senior Manager)

Location:                     Heathrow

 The role will encompass the responsibility for two different functions:

 1.         Space and Strategy

Two analysts share the 4 terminals and develop and drive continuous improvement projects within each terminal.

 2.         Retail Operations

Three Retail Operations Managers, each in charge of 1 or 2 terminals.  The ROMs are accountable and responsible for the integration and smooth operation of Retail Concessions within the terminal space, being accountable for the retail standards, health and safety, maximising retail sales and income.

The responsibilities of that function covers commercial standards, people and relationships and business compliance and leads the communication with the terminals.



 The overall responsibility of the Space and Strategy team is:

  •  To continually seek to improve the productivity of Retail Concessions space at Heathrow Airport, and to drive income growth overall and on a per passenger basis.
  • To develop, communicate and deliver solutions and strategies for the sustainable long-term growth of Retail Concessions
  • To challenge both the Retail Concessions team and the wider business around increasing commercial space, improving retail layouts, and delivering better use of retail space.
  • To determine and communicate short-term and long-term retail strategy and merchandise plans across all retail categories and terminals.  This is on a continual improvement basis (looking at 9-18 mths ahead), for long-term master-planning (18mths-5 yrs ahead) and for key projects which affect retail (with varying time horizons).

Job Purpose

To develop the detailed retail strategy for Heathrow airport, including the terminal merchandise strategies.  Work with the retail concession leadership team to deliver a complete retail offer which delights the traveller and maximises retail revenue.  To actively challenge the ‘airport retail norms’ with the goal of maximising the use and productivity of airport space for current terminals and strategic projects through a deep understanding of customer needs and airport stakeholder requirements.

Within this structure, key areas of focus for the role are:

Long-term Retail Strategy

The role of the Head of Retail Space & Strategy would be:

  • To develop the long-term (18-mths to 5-yr time horizon) retail strategy through appropriate/required analysis of data, inputting ideas - terminal specific, cross-terminal and cross-category.
  • To liaise with stakeholders from across the business (Development, Operations, Design, etc.) to ensure that Retail Concessions requirements are understood and projects can be implemented.
  • To act as a link from Retail Concessions into the wider business to ensure retail space is fully considered within non-retail projects that could affect retail.
  • To work with the Head of Retail Development and Delivery and the Development team to input retail requirements to long-term airport projects such as the Phase 2 development of Terminal 2.
  • To establish and manage constructive working relationships with internal and external stakeholders at Heathrow and the airports division
  • Input/develop business planning processes and business cases in relation to future developments and income potential


 Terminal Retail and Letting Strategy - ongoing and future

The role of the Head of Retail Space & Strategy will be to manage, guide and support the  Retail Space and Strategy Managers in the development of ongoing terminal specific retail masterplans (short and long-term) utilising the structure of the overall retail strategy in order to ensure continual and sustainable growth in Retail income at Heathrow.  This would include:


  • Working with the retail leadership team to ensure Category strategy is included in merchandise planning, whilst ensuring income is maximised and passenger needs met.
  • Analysis of passenger profiles, insight and research, and passenger flows by terminal to determine passenger retail needs
  • Work across whole commercial team to coordinate best use of terminal space (e.g. promotional opportunities, internet desks, etc.)
  • Monitor overall terminal retail and space performance and trends on an ongoing basis to identify:
    • underperforming retail units across categories
    • strategies around better utilisation of space
    • ongoing best use of commercial space (taking media and telecoms strategies/requirements into account)
  • Identify best practice in one terminal that can be applied to others
  • Produce financial analysis of merchandise planning options as appropriate
  • Own and maintain accurate terminal merchandise mix and layout plans
  • Review overall market and consumer trends and input to terminal strategy



  • Manage a coordinated approach to deliver merchandise plans and strategic developments with key retail stakeholders
  • Deliver terminal merchandise plan to achieve incremental and sustainable income growth, through challenge and creativity.
  • Deliver a strategic annual review of merchandise masterplans for each terminal, planning for a 9-18 month timeline, with half yearly update of information in order to achieve incremental and sustainable growth in retail concessions income and passenger satisfaction.  This will determine the ideal space and merchandise plan for each terminal including opportunities for incremental space either within existing terminal architecture or through terminal development.

 Project Retail Strategy

 Determine the retail requirements and merchandise mix for specific projects.  These could be projects driven by the Retail Concessions team (cross-terminal and/or cross category) or responding to wider projects across the business that affect retail.


  • Coordination of retail requirements for project briefs
  • Provide input to stakeholder documentation to ensure commercial influence over project plan and programme
  • Develop key retail requirements to determine the most effective planning of retail space and unit locations within the scope of the project
  • Undertake financial analysis of space, layout and merchandise masterplan options as required to support decision making to maximise retail income and passenger satisfaction.
  • Develop and collate ideas around new cross-category, cross-terminal space and product initiatives
  • Work across categories and commercial functions as required to develop strategy for delivery of initiatives and business plan



  • Deliver retail/commercial briefs for key airport development projects to define retail space, layout and mix requirements to project teams and external consultants, to ensure the needs of retail are understood and incorporated into the options planning process.
  • Production of merchandise masterplans for new developments at Heathrow, in order to ensure the best possible level of retail income can be achieved in line with passenger requirements.

 Team Management

 The Head of Retail Space and Strategy will manage two direct reports.

  •  Lead, coach, motivate and build expertise of direct reports in order to meet their personal and business objectives.


Experience and Qualifications

  •  At least 10 years experience in development of retail and commercial strategies/merchandise planning
  • Previous experience in working in the travel/airport retail environment would be an advantage
  • Experience of understanding customer needs and requirements/using customer data for key decision making
  • Proven ability to work with and influence a wide variety of stakeholder groups
  • Track record of delivering income generating projects

Contact Emailsuzanne@harlingmenzies.com

London office

Tel: +44 (0)207 917 1711

Hong Kong office

Tel: +852 2297 2883


Email: peter@harlingmenzies.com