Gebr. Heinemann achieves solid turnover in 2021 and returns to profitability

The Gebr. Heinemann Group closed the 2021 financial year with turnover of 2.1 billion euros and a return to profitability (excluding foreign exchange effects), the company announced during its annual press conference on April 28.

Nevertheless, this number represents only 44% of the turnover achieved in 2019 (4.8 billion euros) although it is an increase of 31% on 2020 sales of 1.6 billion euros.

The company says the result was supported by one-time effects and is due to three reasons: Gebr. Heinemann continued its consistent cost management in 2021, further savings were achieved through negotiations with business partners, and governments in several countries added Coronavirus support measures.

For 2022, Gebr. Heinemann expects to reach 75% of the turnover of 2019.

In 2021, retail accounted for 76% of total turnover and the distribution business generated 20% of turnover. Heinemann’s business at airports was the largest sales channel, generating a 73% share of sales. This was followed by the border shop business with 13% of total sales. Geographically, Europe accounted for the largest share of sales, at 84%, followed by the Middle East at 8%, Asia Pacific at 4% (2020: 10%), Africa at 3% and the Americas at 1%.

Raoul Springer, Chief Operating Officer

“Although we continued to miss Asian travelers in Europe in 2021, their absence did not have as big an impact on spend per passenger as we had expected. Travel Retail is on a healthy footing. Fewer people are traveling, but the propensity to buy continues unabated and many travelers are even spending significantly more money than before the crisis,” says Raoul Spanger, Chief Operating Officer. “Overall, 2021 has once again confirmed to us that it is important and right to be active in different channels of the travel trade and to stand on two strategic pillars with our own retail and distribution business. In this way, we remain stable and independent of individual markets.”


In 2021, Heinemann reports that Istanbul airport remained an important hub during the pandemic, as did Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, which Gebr. Heinemann operates with local partner, the James Richardson Group.

In addition, Gebr. Heinemann was able to renew important concessions and generate new business. In the Norwegian airport tender, operator Avinor, Gebr. Heinemann’s joint venture Travel Retail Norway (TRN) secured retail operations at Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger airports. Gebr. Heinemann also opened 19 new shops in 14 countries in 2021 – at airports, border crossings, on cruise ships and ferries as well as in a holiday destination in Macau in southern China.

By category, Liquor, Tobacco & Confectionery accounts for 52% of sales, followed by Perfume & Cosmetics with 33% and Fashion, Accessories & Watches, Jewelry with 10%.

Human-centricity core of new corporate mission statement

Gebr. Heinemann adopted a new mission statement for 2021, with the central focus on people– employees, suppliers, business partners and customers, political stakeholders and, travelers in particular: The Heinemann Family. We turn travel time into valuable time as the most human-centric company in global Travel Retail.

This vision forms the umbrella for all projects and activities as well as for the thinking and fundamental attitude of Gebr. Heinemann, says the company.

Chief Executive Officer Max Heinemann

“With the mission statement, we manifest our corporate culture: the ultimate focus on humans. This is what makes and distinguishes us in global Travel Retail and what can be decisive for potential new partners,” says Chief Executive Officer Max Heinemann. “We are a family business – more human, more passionate, more reliable, more accessible and faster than others. “Our business partners and travelers will feel this typical Heinemann personality, worldwide and physically as well as digitally. In this way, we can offer travelers around the globe even more entertaining, inspiring and sustainable shopping experiences. Or in the words of our vision: transform travel time into valuable time.”

Sustainability is key

A key element of the new mission statement is the sustainable impact which the company says anchors a promise to travelers. Gebr. Heinemann has formulated its own Sustainable Development Goals for the ecological and social impact of the company’s global activities, which it aims to achieve by 2030.

As part of this strategy, Gebr. Heinemann is the first Travel Retailer worldwide to develop a responsible shopping sustainable category concept. As a first step, a “future friendly” seal identifies products with sustainable packaging and materials in the shop. This year, the company will add further sustainability features, as the company continues play a pioneering role in the industry.

CFO change: Kai Deneke takes over from Stephan Ernst

As of July 1, Stephan Ernst will hand over the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) on the Executive Board to Dr Kai Deneke. Kai Denke is currently Director Controlling at Gebr. Heinemann. The CFO is responsible for Finance, IT, Procurement and Facility Management.