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Two Univision-branded retail stores to open at LAX

Spanish-language media company Univision Communications plans to open two retail stores in Terminal 2 of Los Angeles International Airport in early 2015.
(Univision Communications )

Spanish-language media company Univision Communications’ campaign to raise its profile is taking flight with retail stores planned for Los Angeles International Airport.

Early next year, two Univision-branded retail outlets are scheduled to open in LAX’s revamped Terminal 2. The specialty stores, which will sell snacks, newspapers, sweatshirts, toothpaste and other merchandise, represent Univision’s foray into retail stores.

The move is the latest by the New York company to market itself beyond the traditional TV screen.

The shops will have large HD video screens featuring programming from Univision’s Spanish-language networks and its English-language channels Fusion and El Rey.

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“This is a completely new space for us,” Rick Alessandri, executive vice president for Univision enterprise development, said Friday. “LAX is a perfect airport, and Los Angeles is a perfect market for us with Hispanic penetration at nearly 50%.”

The effort is a component of Los Angeles World Airways’ $300-million modernization of LAX Terminal 2, a project overseen by developer Westfield.

More than 5 million passengers travel through Terminal 2 each year, and the face-lift is scheduled to include 16,100 square feet of dining and retail shops.

The Univision store concept was part of airport concessionaire Paradies’ winning bid in September to land the LAX terminal contract. Paradies, a family-owned firm based in Atlanta, pledged to operate six specialty shops in Terminal 2, including two newsstands branded with CNBC, the cable news channel owned by NBCUniversal.

CNBC and Time Warner Inc.’s CNN have had branded shops in airports for years.

Univision has been ramping up efforts to mine new revenue from its status as the No. 1 Spanish-language broadcaster in the U.S.

Univision struck a partnership this year with phone company T-Mobile to offer cellphone service to Latino consumers. Univision also has a pharmacy discount card, accepted at drug stores, with an estimated 900,000 families in the U.S. participating in the program.

The broadcasting company, owned by Los Angeles billionaire Haim Saban and four private equity firms, is in talks to open stores in other airport terminals.

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At LAX, Univision would like to introduce Latin American products, such as candy from Mexico and Argentina. “We want to create the same blending of cultures that is going on in the U.S. every day,” Alessandri said.

In addition to appealing to Latinos familiar with Univision shows, the company also hopes the stores will send a message to airline travelers, including corporate marketers, that Univision is a potent brand, boasting the nation’s fifth most popular TV network.

Concessionaire Paradies plans other shops in LAX Terminal 2, including one featuring Spanx undergarments and another with electronics gadgets. The stores are expected to open in the first quarter of 2015.

Twitter: @MegJamesLAT

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