Poverty agency reports it is adding new airport duty-free shops

Instituto Nacional de Ayuda Mixta photo
The duty-free shops are known for reasonable prices on
alcohol. But the Instituto Nacional de Ayuda Mixta is
expanding its inventory.

Travelers and tourists may not realize as they pass through one of the two international airports that the duty-free shops are operated by a government agency. And business is good.

The Instituto Nacional de Ayuda Mixta is the operator, and the agency reported Tuesday that an expansion last year at Juan Santamaría airport increased sales. The agency enlarged the space and the inventory. When the location was small, the major product was alcohol. Now with more space, the agency has added perfumes, quality sunglasses and beauty products.

Sales in December 2011 were $519,000. But in 2012 sales were $843,000 in the same month, the agency reported. For the entire 2012 year, sales were $5.6 million, it said.

Business is so good that the agency is building two more small stores in the airport terminal. One will sell watches, sunglasses and jewelry while the other will sell alcohol, the agency said.

In addition, the stores will have a new slogan: Compras con Responsabilidad Social or “Shopping with Social Responsability.” The slogan is to remind shoppers that the operator of the store is one of the country’s major anti-poverty organizations and that purchases help pay for projects in rural Costa Rica, in schools, for business training and to provide capital for small firms.

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