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USA Today airport store to take off

USA Today plans to extend its brand footprint by opening a USA Today Travel Zone store in New York’s LaGuardia Airport. It is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2008.

The store will feature a line of USA Today products, including books, calendars and gifts. Merchandise at the store will be displayed under the newspaper’s traditional color scheme – lifestyle products under purple, sports in red, financial goods in green and news in blue.

“We think a USA Today store in airports is a great extension of our brand given the close relationship we have with business and vacation travelers,” said Christy Hartsell, director of brand licensing for USA Today.

HDS Retail, an established player in airport concession space, holds the license to the USA Today Travel Zone. HDS will be responsible for development, staffing, stock, marketing and merchandise but will be working closely with the paper on handling the brand name.

“USA Today launched a brand licensing strategy in 2006 with the goal of extending our brand into new product areas to generate new revenue and audience and, ultimately, driving new customers to USA Today’s core products,” Hartsell said.

More than half of USA Today’s daily circulation is dependent on bulk sales to hotels and other travel-oriented businesses. Hartsell added that USA Today advertisers may be able to participate in Travel Zone in the future.

USA Today has been working on a host of expansion projects lately. The paper began offering widgets to online readers earlier this month.

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