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Kiosks to offer new services

Swiss kiosks - traditionally places where you can find newspapers, magazines, cigarettes and chocolate - are changing with the times. They are offering more products to lure the customers, and an increasing number of services.

This content was published on January 21, 2000 - 12:54

Swiss kiosks - traditionally places where you can find newspapers, magazines, cigarettes and chocolate - are changing with the times. They are offering more products to lure the customers, and an increasing number of services.

Any kiosk worthy of its name now offers convenience and fresh food, drinks, books, presents and cosmetics. And customers can buy lottery tickets, public transport tickets and telephone cards.

Many of Switzerland's more than 2,000 kiosks will soon be tempting passers-by with other services, including holidays and film developing.

Market leader Kiosk AG, which is a member of the Berne-based Valora Group, has 1291 kiosks which will soon be stocking travel brochures on its shelves and offering the film-developing services of another Valora Group member, Fotolabo.

Swiss retailer EPA and Kiosk AG will bring a new type of travel service to the market. Together with the young travel firm Qualitours of Zurich, the partners are launching a direct travel agency.

The partners' dense network of sales outlets, which can boast 1.4 million customer contacts per day, will be used for sales promotion purposes. Actual sales will be handled directly by Qualitours, by phone, Internet and post.

The Swiss travel industry is highly competitive, but with their proposed "convenience booking" system, the two partners expect to establish themselves quickly in what for them is a complementary sector.

"We at EPA are proud to be able to put this business idea into practice with a powerful Partner like Kiosk AG with its fantastic distribution network," said EPA's chief executive Werner Kuster.

The partners have set themselves ambitious goals. By the end of 2001, Qualitours should be generating SFr15 to 20 million in sales.

The Valora Group is also expanding its kiosk activities abroad, since the home market is approaching saturation. It has just become Luxembourg's market leader in the kiosk, printed media and book sector, with its take-over of "Messageries Paul Kraus" MPK.

Specialising in the wholesaling and retailing of newspapers, magazines and books, MPK has an annual turnover of SFr106 million.

From staff and wire reports

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