Lagardère Travel Retail

Relay races forward to the next generation

We assess the key elements in the relaunch and rebranding of the Relay concept, as travel essentials takes on even greater significance amid the pandemic. By Dermot Davitt.

When it announced its Q3 results on 5 November, Lagardère Travel Retail underscored the importance of travel essentials, one of its three core business pillars alongside duty free & luxury and foodservice. The category has proven more resilient than either duty free or F&B in the recovery period, aided by the pace of reopenings among stores deemed ‘essential’, by a faster recovery in domestic markets and in channels such as rail and shopping centres that have been less affected by travel lockdowns.

For Lagardère Travel Retail, it’s also a sector worth €2.2 billion in sales (2019 figures), or 41% of the annual total.

Against that backdrop, the launch of a new concept, design and brand identity for Relay takes on greater significance.

The core goals, says the retailer, are to allow for “greater in-store flexibility and agility” and “to increase the operational efficiency of stores”.

The stores now feature a new, clear graphic identity and store design. The concept has been developed to allow for quick and simple adaptation of the layout, merchandising and product offering. Dedicated spaces to showcase local products are also part of the concept, while a new check-out experience aims to make the shopper journey more “seamless”.

Key elements include:

  • New category universes, introduced to highlight the product offering with distinctive design and merchandising for each category. With flexible merchandising and layout, categories can be aligned to changing customer trends and passenger mix (for example during the crisis the focus has been on convenience products and less on gifts)
  • The Relay red storefront has been enhanced with a grey banner to introduce partner brands
  • Communication tools have also been integrated to support promotional offers and allow for product recommendation
  • Digital communications have been included into the concept through store-front digital animation and in-store screens.

The updated brand positioning is ‘travel made special’, and is supported by the tagline ‘Relay. Make your journey more’, which is articulated around four pillars:

  1. One-stop shop. “Relay offers all the travel essentials travellers may need, all in one place.”
  2. Efficient and adaptable. “Relay offers a seamless, versatile experience for consumers and businesses alike.”
  3. Cultural awareness. “With a current, daily stream of trend and culture-related content, culture is a central component of Relay’s DNA.”
  4. Global presence. “As a multi-channel, multi-market travel retail brand, Relay is for travellers everywhere, at every point in their journeys.”

To reinforce its CSR commitments, Relay also features what it calls a “responsible offer”, the encouragement of better consumption and the introduction of ‘localness’ into product ranges.

And the rollout has already begun. ‘New generation’ Relay stores have opened at Madrid Atocha station, Nantes Atlantique Airport and train station, Prague Airport (seven stores) and the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport (four stores). The concept will continue its global roll-out in 2020 and 2021, with openings planned in seven countries across several regions, and more to follow.

Lagardère Travel Retail Chief Business Officer Lucio Rossetto says: “Relay is a well-known brand to travellers throughout the world, and for many it’s where the travel really starts. To maintain this emotional connection between Relay and its customers and better keep up with their needs, we needed to evolve both the concept and the brand identity. With the new generation of Relay stores, we are further investing into a franchise, and a segment we believe in. Under the most challenging circumstances, Relay has demonstrated its great resilience and more importantly has managed to remain an important stopover in passengers’ journeys.”

A concept inspired by customers

Lagardère Travel Retail said that the new Relay concept has been “inspired by customers” who are seeking a combination of elements in stores of the future – and who are willing to travel despite the impact of the pandemic. They want retailers to offer ‘experience and enjoyment’, ‘uniqueness’, ‘practicality’, ‘seamlessness’, ‘safety’ and ‘responsibility’.

According to the company, Relay responds to this by:

  • Moving from a transactional place to an experiential one
  • Offering more emotions, more interaction, more complicity
  • A product offer aligned to travellers’ needs and which anticipates their future needs
  • A simplified shopper path in-store
  • Reinforced hygiene & safety measures to shop with peace of mind
  • Tangible and responsible commitments and initiatives.

Relay must show itself to be expert (a specialist that pay attention to changing needs), conscious (promoting sustainable development among other values) and inclusive (creating a connection).

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The Moodie Davitt eZine Issue 286 | 16 November 2020

The Moodie Davitt eZine is published 15 times per year by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd). © All material is copyright and cannot be reproduced without the permission of the Publisher. To find out more visit and to subscribe, please e-mail

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