Sense of Place:

Vivacious Venetian retail

In association with

Local brands and locally-developed concepts can be found right across Lagardère Travel Retail’s commercial offer at Venice Marco Polo Airport. These range from the pasta selection in the core duty free store to masks and Murano glass objects in a higher-end souvenir outlet. “The guiding principle was to offer the best of Venice and Italy,” the retailer says.

Italian flavour: The core duty free store features both a regional pasta and chocolate selection among other locally-produced items.

Lagardère Travel Retail brought together three key commercial segments – food & beverage, core category duty free, and convenience – to create what it hopes is a winning combination at Venice Marco Polo Airport.

The official opening of its latest commercial units on 9 November was also a statement of intent about developing regional (small- and medium-sized) airport businesses internationally.

One of the pillars of the retailer’s strategy continues to be Sense of Place; it is vital not just to create the best possible customer experience, but to create one which is unique to the location. As we have seen previously in this column, the realisation of the latter often leads to the former.

Food & beverage outlet Natoo offers healthy eating options.

Travellers will find local brands and locally-developed concepts right across the new commercial offer at Venice Marco Polo. Lagardère Travel Retail worked closely with joint venture partner SAVE Group, the company managing Venice Marco Polo Airport, to ensure this would be the case.

“The guiding principle was to provide the airport with a unique support, offering the best of Venice and Italy, while adapting to the different and changing customer profiles and catering for all the transformation phases of the airport,” explains Lagardère Travel Retail COO for Europe Middle East and Africa Frédéric Chevalier.

The centrepiece 1,200sq m Aelia Duty Free walk-through store features numerous Italian brands such as Pallini, Bvlgari, Acqua Di Parma, Dolce & Gabbana, Diego Dalla Palma, Trussardi and Armani. There is also clear Venetian inspiration throughout the store, especially in the area of Italian fine food and wines.

World of Venice offers locally-produced or locally-famous gift items such as masks and Murano glass objects.

“In fine food, Lagardère has interpreted the specifics of the Italian tradition with a dedicated Italian team and dedicated formats. In Venice, the ‘Bottega dei Sapori’ concept is a tangible example of this,” says Lagardère Travel Retail Italy CEO Lucio Rossetto.

Bottega dei Sapori, a retail store where passengers can order freshly-made sandwiches, also demonstrates how F&B and retail can be complementary to each other. The sandwiches use ingredients such as cheeses and meats that can be bought at the adjacent delicatessen counter of the shop.

At SAVE’s request, the F&B offers at Venice Marco Polo were developed locally. This not only makes them a better financial option in margin terms, but also gives passengers a genuine feeling of Sense of Place which they often find lacking in larger airports, according to SAVE.

Emporio del Grano in the landside area offers both table service and self-service options.

Rossetto expands on this: “Every airport in Italy needs to respond to specific needs and create a unique offer in the eyes of the traveller. The chain and one-size-fits-all approach is no longer possible. Emporio del Grano, Natoo, C. Coffee Lovers and Rustichelli & Mangione are examples of such an approach.”

Rustichelli & Mangione offers a modern twist on traditional Italian cuisine, for example, while C. Coffee Lovers is tailored to a predominantly international target but blended with Italian expertise. Elsewhere, Torrefazione Canareggio is a typical Venetian coffee shop where refined quality blends are the order of the day.

Souvenir store World of Venice, which was inaugurated in June after a restyling, offers a clear link to the beautiful, canal-filled Italian city. It offers locally-produced or locally-famous gift items such as masks and Murano glass objects. “World of Venice is a souvenir-format store that is inspired by Venetian history, craft and culture including sought-after Murano glass,” notes Rossetto.

Take a piece of Venice home: The C. Coffee Lovers concept is tailored to a predominantly international target but blended with Italian expertise.

Lagardère Travel Retail Chairman and CEO Dag Rasmussen says the company is positioning itself as a regional airports expert, among other elements of its strategy. “We know how to create tailor-made solutions using local teams developing local networks. Airports can see that we do a good job this way, and they want to work with us.”

SAVE is in the middle of an €850 million (US$964 million) capital expenditure plan of which €430 million (US$488 million) has already been spent. Having completed the areas in which Lagardère revealed its latest stores, the group is now working to enlarge the extra-Schengen area, and next year it will start on the enlargement of the north side of the airport.

Putting F&B and retail at the heart of SAVE’s growth strategy has led to some ambitious space allocation plans from the group. “We would like to see 1,200sq m of retail and F&B per million passengers which will be an increase from 800sq m per million today,” says SAVE Group CEO Monica Scarpa.

Bottega dei Sapori demonstrates how F&B and retail can be complementary to each other.

As the latest infrastructure projects take shape, that +50% increase in space per million passengers will be music to the ears of Lagardère. As master concessionaire, it is in a strong position to hone a retail offer to the exact specifications agreed between just two parties – and build further profitable concepts that can deliver Sense of Place.

Click here to read Kevin Rozario’s full on-location report on Lagardère Travel Retail’s openings at Venice Marco Polo Airport.

The Moodie Davitt e-Zine | Issue 252 | 16 November 2018