PTE interview: Moving from a duty-free to a department store model – Paris style

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Aude Ferrand, chief retail officer at Groupe ADP, reveals how retail operations at Paris airports are moving from a duty-free to a department store model to offer passengers the lifestyle experience they desire when travelling, in advance of her presentation at Passenger Terminal Conference 2019.

Please describe your presentation.

My presentation will discuss the ongoing airport retail transformation at Paris-CDG and Paris-Orly, where we are moving from a duty-free model to a department store model.

The traditional duty-free business model is increasingly threatened due to price competition or public health regulations, while at the same time, fashion sales have been getting stronger. Moreover, passengers are increasingly looking to enjoy a lifestyle experience when traveling, including one-off concept stores, more of a sense of place, and a broader food and beverage offer. Hence, now is the time to move forward to a department store model.

Can you give an example of how you have improved the food and beverage offer?

The range of culinary delights available in the public area at Paris-CDG’s Terminal 2E is set to grow with the arrival of three new food outlets. Café Eiffel, operated by Select Service Partner, will offer passengers and staff in Terminal 2E a high-quality dining experience with the ambiance of a French bistro. At Ladurée, the epitome of a Parisian tea room, customers can savor classic macarons (up to 36 flavors) with an indulgent cup of smoked tea. Last but not least, for those in a hurry and fans of fresh, natural food products, the Exki outlet offers an impressive range of meals and snacks, from breakfast to dinner, available to eat in or take away.

And what about the retail offer?

Louis Vuitton’s new shop at Paris-CDG (Terminal 2E, Hall K), which opened in September 2018, is a good example. The first of its kind at a French airport, the outlet blends a decidedly international atmosphere with a unique customer experience. All of Louis Vuitton’s expertise and excellence is revealed through a selection of leather goods, men’s and women’s accessories, a women’s ready-to-wear capsule, shoes, luggage and fragrances. This innovative shop has regular sales events, such as a personalization service allowing users to put their initials on their luggage there and then.

The shop front and interior feature travel destinations inspired by baggage labels from Gaston-Louis Vuitton’s private collection. Originally stuck on trunks and other pieces of luggage, these labels of hotels and different means of transport call shoppers to journey the world while symbolizing the art of traveling, beloved by Louis Vuitton. The notion of travel and expertise is also reflected in the window display, which features a motorized paraglider sitting on the iconic monogrammed hat box, specially made by the legendary Louis Vuitton workshops in Asnières to transport it. This contemporary replica of the ‘flying machine’, designed by Louis Vuitton in the twentieth century, is made of metal parts and materials used in the fashion house’s latest Men’s collections.

What are the key differences between the fashion and airport retail industries?

In a department store, the passenger can enjoy a seamless experience throughout multiple categories or even floors, while in an airport, the organization relies on different operators and multiple stakeholders, which makes recreating such an experience more of a challenge. However, we have to offer our passengers the same high quality, choice and level of service that he or she would experience in the best modern shopping malls or retail stores.

Is a ‘department store’ model right for all airports?

Excellence in design, service, portfolio and price are key in all airports. Paris’s airports have the chance to carry ‘Paris’ in their name, and with Paris recognized as a fashion capital around the world, this provides us with a unique legitimacy.

Aude Ferrand, chief retail officer, Groupe ADP, France, will present a paper titled ‘From a duty free model to a department store model’ at this year’s Passenger Terminal Conference, which takes place during Passenger Terminal EXPO, 26, 27 and 28 March 2019, in London. Register here for your delegate pass.

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About Author


With over 20 years experience in editorial management and content creation for multiple, market-leading titles at UKi Media & Events (publisher of Passenger Terminal World), one of the UK's fastest growing publishing companies, Anthony has written articles and news covering everything from aircraft, airports and cars, to cruise ships, trains, trucks and even tires!

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