Lagardère plays a strong F&B card in Rome

By: Kevin Rozario   •   Email: kevin_rozario@yahoo.com

In current conditions, France’s Lagardère Travel Retail has one of the best approaches to duty free and travel retail. Why? Because under its Chairman and CEO, Dag Rasmussen, the retailer has expanded in the market using the three pillars of duty free, travel essentials and food service.

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In its newly opened retail operation at the new Avancorpo T3 area of Rome’s Fiumicino Airport (FCO), there is a well-conceived F&B offer (more on this below) alongside its now well-established Aelia ‘next generation’ DF&TR concept.

LTR-Rome-FCO-pizza-from-Farinella.F&B has become increasingly important to airports. In 2016, F&B grew faster at many hubs including London Heathrow, Groupe ADP’s Paris gateways, Frankfurt and Zurich. It may not be as big as DF&TR: Spain’s airport operator Aena, for example, shows that F&B delivered €154.5m (US$166m) revenue in 2016, much less than the €285.2m (USD307m) from the duty free shops. However, F&B grew by +17% while duty free rose by +13.6%.

At FCO, Lagardère has added some new, local, and tailored concepts. Family-owned brand Farinella from the Naples region – and famed for its pizzas – has made its airport debut, while the retailer has also brought Chinese brand Ajisen Ramen to FCO to meet the needs of the significant number of Asian travellers. The brand ranks fourth in the Fast Casual Food segment in China says LTR and makes its European launch. Finally Beercode is a pub and casual dining offer developed by LTR for FCO.

Rasmussen was clear in extolling the virtues of the Rome offer by emphasising it as a showcase to “demonstrate the relevance of our strategy… covering all the segments of the travel retail business: Duty Free, Travel Essentials and Foodservice”.

This three-pillar strategy should stand it in good stead in an environment where travellers may choose to spend on F&B because they need to, but hold back on discretionary retail expenditure. By having its eggs in all baskets, LTR gains whichever way the spending tips.

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