Test operation of check-in desks for creation of a custom "clean zone" will begin at the Finland train station next week, and a duty-free store will open there before the end of the year, said Anna Maksimova, the head of the media relations department at the corporate communications service of the Oktyabrskaya Railways, which is an affiliate of the Russian Railways, Vedomosti reports.

The Russian Railways’ partner and operator of the duty-free shop is the Aerotreydservis limited liability company, she said. The company leases shop premises with a trading area of 93 square meters at the train station, Aerotreydservis’ co-owner and general director Andrei Martynyuk told Vedomosti. Sale of duty-free goods will begin on Allegro trains in November. Neither side disclosed the terms of the relevant agreement. NAI Becar’s Managing Director Natalia Skalandis estimates that month rents at train stations may start from RUB 2,500 per square meter.

The shop will sell alcohol, perfumes, toys, chocolates, and other goods that are standard for duty-free shops, and passengers will be able to pre-order them on the internet, said Maksimova.

Aerotreydservis operates duty-free shops at the three Moscow airports, as well as at airports in Astrakhan, Arkhangelsk, Omsk, Samara, Chita, and Ulan-Ude, and it engages in duty-free trading on the aircraft of 11 Russian airline companies. The company won a tender to open duty-free shops at railway stations last year, said Martynyuk. It plans to open a shop in Vyborg in 2014, he added. It has a trading area of 63 square meters, added Maksimova. The company plans to open duty-free shops at all the train stations where it is permitted by law, added Martynyuk. Opening of duty-free shops at railway border crossings is permitted by the government directive No. 440-r of April 5, 2012. The company’s plan is to open duty-free shops at 30 train stations.

Martynyuk expects sales at train stations and on trains to be 20-30% more than at airports. He cited an opinion poll that indicated that 80% of train passengers are interested in purchasing such goods. It will be the first duty-free shop at a train station in Russia, said Infoline Analytics’ General Director Mikhail Burmistrov. According to him, the sales indicators will initially be lower than the sales indicators at airports because duty-free sales are not well understood by or familiar to many train passengers. It is believed that airplane passengers are richer than train passengers are, he explained. The classic assortment of premium products in duty-free shops will clearly be superfluous, and the pricing policy should also be more flexible, he added.