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BW Confidential Insight: Travel retail store trends

While the travel-retail channel continues to see strong growth, particularly in beauty, passenger profiles are also changing fast. Swiss travel-retail operator Dufry global category management director for beauty Antonin Carreau sat down with BW Confidential to discuss how he sees the retailer’s assortment changing to cater to millennials, shoppers accustomed to buying online and increasing numbers of Chinese travelers

Antonin Carreau

Antonin Carreau: “There is an appetite for new brands, essentially driven by Chinese consumers, but not only. There is a demand from millennials, who we are not converting in airport retail, for brands that have developed fast through social media or brick-and-mortar, essentially in Anglo markets, and which are not yet available in airport retail—this is particularly the case in make-up. We have a list of almost 40 brands that we would like to offer in our airports. In general, these brands are quite selective, successful through social media and very much in demand from a younger audience. 

The shop of the future will be probably something in between the department-store type of business and a model that is more experiential. Consumers are not only shopping by brand, but by need and social-media influence. So we need to accommodate the department-store, brand-equity personalization model, with a model that is more generic and better responds to the experience that these new, younger consumers have on the domestic market and through digital. We need to accommodate all types of spaces and experience and have areas that are more theme-driven. [The way today’s consumers] shop on digital is they flip [from brand to brand] and we need to put that into airports.

The proposition we do as retailers with brands is very conservative. To address the assortment management changes, it is not only about selection, getting what is hot or betting on newcomers, it is also about how we deploy it in stores. So there is a big question on space management and navigation for consumers. 

With the brands we have been working with for years, we are focusing on assortment productivity and being more targeted depending on the pax, so we will be able to have the capacity to deploy all of the brands from a buying standpoint and from a space management standpoint. Many skus in our assortment are just not productive. So in an intelligent and respectful way and in partnership with the brands, we need to reduce the number of skus. We are on a program where the target is to reduce by at least 20%. We need to have a business model that is much more agile, flexible and has the capacity to change and innovate in assortment and store layout.”

This interview appeared in BW Confidential’s Beauty & Travel Retail special edition published in November 2019. BW Confidential is the Paris-based B2B publication for the international beauty industry. For more insights on the beauty industry: www.bwconfidential.com