The Americas June 2020 Issue

Page 1




T R A P A N E H W N EVE p. 4

Essence Corp's post-pandemic plans p. 8  The show will go on – online p.14  Airline’s call for effective cabin hygiene products p. 26

The New Fragrance


COACH_Dream_Model_ADV_129_8,5x11.indd 1

07/02/2020 17:39

Letter from the Editor

JUNE 2020 · VOL 30 · NO 2 The Americas Duty Free & Travel Retailing magazine (ISSN 0962-0699) is published four times a year April, June, October and November by Global Marketing Company Ltd. 26 Pearl Street, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 1X2 Canada. It is distributed throughout Central America, South America, the United States, Canada, U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. Pacific islands, and the islands in the Caribbean. The views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher or the editor. June 2020, Vol 30. No. 2. Printed in Canada. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. © 2020 Global Marketing Company Ltd. .

THE AMERICAS DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING 26 Pearl Street Mississauga, Ontario L5M 1X2 Canada Tel: 1 905 821 3344; Fax: 1 905 821 2777 PUBLISHER Aijaz Khan EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Hibah Noor DEPUTY EDITOR Jas Ryat SENIOR EDITOR Mary Jane Pittilla SENIOR WRITER Rebecca Byrne ASIA CORRESPONDENT Elena Owyong AMERICAS CORRESPONDENT Ronnie Lovler ART DIRECTOR Jessica Hearn




he world is opening up again, but it’s going to be a long haul. New research from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has found that destinations are cautiously easing travel restrictions introduced in response to COVID-19. As the United Nations agency releases its Global Guidelines for Reopening Tourism, signaling a transition into gearing up for stronger and better recovery, 3% of all global destinations have now taken steps to ease travel restrictions. According to UNWTO’s research, only seven destinations have eased travel restrictions for international tourism purposes. At the same time, several more destinations are engaged in significant discussions about the reopening of borders. The UNWTO notes that 100% of all destinations worldwide continue to have some form of COVID-19-related travel restrictions in place. Furthermore, as of May 18, 75% continued to have their borders completely closed for international tourism. In 37% of all cases, travel restrictions have been in place for 10 weeks, while 24% of global destinations have had restrictions in place for 14 weeks or more. Looking into global travel restrictions more closely, the UNWTO research shows that the more important tourism is to the economies of individual destinations, the more likely they are to have introduced complete border closures. In the case of SIDS destinations (Small Island Developing States), 85% continue to have their borders completely closed for tourism purposes. All UNWTO regions have more than 65% of their destinations completely closed to tourism: Americas (86%), Asia and the Pacific (67%), Europe (74%), the Middle East (69%) and Africa (74%). This situation spells bad news for the entire travel retail industry and is looking especially gloomy for businesses in Latin America, which, after a slow start, is now an epicenter for this pandemic. Experts are saying that the spread will likely worsen in coming weeks due to the poor economic and health care system in these countries. In contrasting news, in other parts of the world, May and June are big months for the reopenings of businesses, museums and other tourist hotspots. Most of these establishments have adopted stringent hygiene measures, with well-sterilized facilities, and all staff wearing masks and gloves, providing some comfort to travelers. Businesses are keen to ensure best practice across their retail operations. This may be easier to achieve in the East than in the West, though time will tell. Meanwhile, clickand-collect is being seen as a popular way to begin the shopping journey. In other news, in two major developments for our stable of market-leading regional magazines, we are now offering audio and video elements within selected articles. We hope you enjoy these new digital features. We have also tied up with The Moodie Davitt Report as a preferred media partner for its pioneering Virtual Travel Retail Expo this October – a first for our industry. With new exhibitors and speakers lining up to participate, the event looks set to be a high point in our industry calendar. We look forward to meeting you there from October 12-16.

Kindest regards,



Stronger Together


T R A P A N E H W EVEN he rough t h t n i a g gh and a it throu e t again i d a n e m e s s ’ve il ha es. , and we nt. Travel reta d deadly virus d i a s t i s an silie eard We’ve h r industry is re psed economie u a years: o ecessions, coll r wars,

The strength of our team is each member. The strength of each member is the team

We will continue to work hard to bring you relevant information each day, each week and, in our digital issues, each month. A portion of our editorial focus will be on the aviation industry, airports, passenger concerns and passenger and staff safety — we are in an especially strong position to write about this because of our sister publication, PAX International. Now more than ever, we need to understand this side of our industry.


his time, it’s different. The word “unprecedented” might seem tiresome by now, but that word is appropriate. However we are no less resilient. Borders will reopen, flights will resume and travelers will again want to buy things. It’s imperative that we in our industry stay on top of everything happening in the world in order to be ready to hit the ground running when it does.

The information you want

Travel retail continues to exist, and Americas, Asia and Gulf-Africa Duty Free & Travel Retail magazines’ support of the industry is stronger than ever. We have listened to what our readers want, and we’re providing this information in the way you’ve requested it. Our digital readership and social media followers are growing, and we’re increasing the number and scope of our digital issues.


Video and audio element

July Digital issue – special report Spirits & Tobacco

In our digital issues and our weekly enewsletters we are offering the most relevant information for our readers, interviewing the real decision makers and offering short, to-the-point videos and audio in addition to our more information-heavy articles.

August Digital issue special report on Airports & Airlines

Video clip: Essence Corp interview: Adapting to thrive post-pandemic

*Americas, Asia & Gulf-Africa October Digital issues – While the Cannes show has been cancelled, we will be distributing our October issues at the Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo as a Preferred Media Partner.

Video Clip: Muscat Duty Free prioritizes best practice

June Digital issue – special report Confectionery

For now we are going on the assumption that MEADFA and FDFA will be taking place as they have before.


Even as the pandemic has kept us separate from our colleagues, friends and even family, it has brought us closer together as we all help to keep each other safe and well. Like the industry, the world has seen difficult times before. We know we will make it through, all the stronger on the other side.



WHAT’S INSIDE Lead Stories 8 Essence Corp’s

Plans Post-Pandemic

16 Message From ASUTIL President

The Essence of beauty post-pandemic Antoine Bona, VP Sales at Essence Corp, reveals how the Miami-based beauty distributor is adjusting to life after the coronavirus outbreak

Coming back stronger together During a webinar hosted by the the Duty Free World Council in June, ASUTIL President Gustavo Fagundes explained the actions his association was taking in the run-up to Latin America’s long-awaited recovery

14 Virtual Event

20 Michael Payne

The show will go on – online Duty Free Magazine serves as a Preferred Media Partner at The Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo in October


Discusses Americas

Industry relief a priority, says IAADFS IAADFS is doing its best to assist and support the pandemic-hit industry in the Americas while staying in touch through webinars

26 Supply Chain Update

Supply chain champions These industry suppliers are pivoting focus to help battle the coronavirus pandemic

Features One Red Kite offers advice 18 E. Gluck talks success 22 Manufacturing makeover 24 A clean bill of health 30 Ritter’s Jan Pasold delivers reality 34

Loackers’ plan to prevail LatAm airport sector in crisis MONARQ open for business Tito’s ahead of the curve m1nd-set shares information

35 36 37 38 40


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Essence Corp’s Plans Post-Pandemic

The Essence of beauty P O S T- PA N D E M I C

Antoine Bona, VP Sales at Essence Corp, reveals how the Miami-based beauty distributor is adjusting to life after the coronavirus outbreak

Essence Corp Vice President Sales Antoine Bona talks about what airports and airlines need to do to restore confidence in air travel and how Essence and its business partners can tailor their offerings to the consumer. He discusses a smaller assortment, focus on best seller & newness, and promotional references (US$29.99 price point). Established brands and Bath & body products will be strong, he predicts


mericas Duty Free caught up with Miami-based beauty distributor Essence Corp’s Vice President Sales Antoine Bona in mid-May to discuss the current state of affairs in his part of the world. The thing I appreciate the most about the Bona family is their transparency and honesty during interviews. This makes my job easier and allows me to provide compelling and informative editorials, writes Editor-in-Chief Hibah Noor. “We have been home since March 17 and are going back to the office June 15,” said Bona. “We are under ‘stay at home’ orders in South Florida. Businesses in South Florida have slowly started to open from May 18, other areas of Florida have already opened up.” Essence Corp made the decision to push back the opening of its offices to June 15. Bona reports that the Essence Corp team is “fine” and everyone is working from home on Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The staff are familiar with working remotely, as half 8 THE AMERICAS DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING JUNE 2020

of the commercial team is on the road and there are 10 employees based in the Caribbean and Latin America. “When we go back to work, we will have to rotate the team schedules,” he explained. “One team will come in on Monday and Wednesday and the other on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, with everyone working from home. “The safety and security of our team members are our highest priority and we are currently putting in place appropriate safety protocols to ensure protection for when we return to the office.” The company is sourcing N95 and cloth masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant cleaning supplies, and gloves. As before, it will reinforce office cleaning with a private cleaning firm. All communal items will be removed from the kitchen so as not to share plates, utensils and cups, and 6ft social distancing zones will be marked in the lobby entrance and kitchen floor. The conference rooms are also being prepared with social distancing protocols.

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Essence Corp’s Plans Post-Pandemic

Targeting local travelers

On a more positive note, Bona noted that some regional markets served by Essence Corp were starting to reopen mid-May and at the end of the month. As of mid-May, the current situation was as follows: Curacao – open Aruba – open Cayman – delivery only St Maarten – French side open St Thomas – delivery only US Borders – open Canada borders – June 21 New York JFK Airport – June 1 (Terminal 1 open) Mexico – June 1 Costa Rica – May 15 El Salvador – May 16 Panama – June 22 Bogota – June 30 Uruguay – a few stores opened mid-May.

From left: Essence Corp’s Antoine Bona, Patricia Bona, JeanJacques Bona, Guillaume Bona

Bona believes that air travel will be most impacted short term, but he is already seeing some signs of recovery in the Caribbean and border stores where the company focuses on locals/terrestrial travelers. “It's an extremely difficult year for travel retail,” he acknowledged. “We know the business is resilient, we know passenger traffic will pick up but it might take three years to get back to 2019 levels. People like going out, people like exploring new cities and there will be business travel and

Antoine Bona, Executive Sales Director, Essence Corp

people going home to see families. We are taking a shortterm hit but long term there will be new airline carriers, new means of traveling, airports and stores will be renovated. Maybe more walk-throughs as well that will help capture passenger traffic.” In the Caribbean market, over the last five years, Bona has been observing a shift in the company’s target group away from tourists to local people because the locals can't travel easily to the US due to visa restrictions and “Amazon doesn't ship easily to the Caribbean”. He continued: “We already depend on the locals for 50% of business, it's a small domestic market. And [outside the Caribbean market] in the borders, we’re dealing with traveling locals, they might live 100-200 kilometers away, it's still somewhat a domestic market. We've had some borders that haven't closed and others that are starting to open up in May. A lot of these border stores unlike airports; they offer a lot of essential products like food, olive oil, air conditioning, machinery.” In recession-hit Latin America, Bona had hoped 2020 was going to be a good year, but then the virus pandemic struck the region. “It did start off as a good year until mid-March, when retail dropped by 50%. Prior to that we were extremely 10 THE AMERICAS DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING JUNE 2020

Essence Corp’s Plans Post-Pandemic

Essence Corp recently rolled our Unilever’s Lifebuoy brand and feedback so far has been positive

optimistic. We had a lot of key launches that were pushed back to 2021 due to the crisis. Right now it's about readapting and doing with what we have. We're focusing on our pillars, inventory, our sales staff. We have to readapt expenses to match the sales level.” The key issue, Bona believes, is for airlines and stores to “really communicate” to the public the safety guidelines that they’ve set up, so people will start to feel comfortable enough to travel. This includes emphasizing the use of air filtration systems, face masks, aircraft seating adjustments to reduce capacity, social distancing measures, and organized queuing. “People will start to feel comfortable, but people need that communication.” Bona noted that thanks to its partnership with consumer goods group Unilever, Essence Corp is able to offer Lifebuoybranded surgical masks and hand sanitizers to its clients. Feedback on the brand so far has been positive. “Everyone is interested; people want it sooner rather than later. We will receive the surgical masks at the beginning of June and hand sanitizer at the end of July. Everyone is sourcing their own PPE [personal protection equipment] products locally. Moving forward they might want something branded to supply to their staff or customers.”

Plans moving forward; US$29 key selling price

After restarting its business activities in both the Caribbean and some of the border stores at the end of April/beginning of May, Essence Corp supplied gift sets for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and although the store reopenings were too late for Mother’s Day, the sets will still be used as a promotional product. Bona is


confident that the gift set business will be very strong from June to September. This year, stores will carry the sets until the end of the year, rather than seasonally, as happened before. “We've had customers interested in those,” he enthused. Essence Corp is currently planning and getting in touch with its customers, helping them to mark down the old SKUs, and having a game plan for when the business returns. Bona thinks that some shoppers will have less disposable cash, so lower priced brands such as Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works will target this segment. At the other end of the scale, Rituals is a luxury bath and body brand with an average price point of roughly US$22, so he predicts that this will be a strong selling category. Turning to promotions, some of Essence Corp’s fragrance brands have introduced a US$29 program on their classic SKUs, such as Versace Blue and Red Jeans and I Love by Moschino, while Montblanc offers some promotional references for its Starwalker line. “A lot of the brands are prepared to offer promotional price points. Sales just won't be the same, and we’re prepared,” said Bona. Carrying new brands won’t be on the cards for Essence Corp. “Right now we have a commitment to our suppliers we’ve had relationships with for a long time, for example with EuroItalia for over 15 years, Interparfums for over 30 years. These are important partnerships to sustain and right now isn't a good time to invest what we have in new brands.” Musing on the future, Bona is pragmatic. “Essence Corp has been in business for 30+ years, we’ve been profitable every year. We have to learn how to be profitable on a smaller scale during a short to medium term.”
















Our readers will have the chance to vote online for their favorite suppliers and retailers in six different categories. Winners and runners-up will be announced in September 2020.


Readers will vote for the best company in six different categories for each of the three regions: the Americas; Middle East and Africa; and Asia. 1. 2. 3. 4.

Best #strongertogether initiative, helping others through the crisis Best Marketing During Adversity (COVID-19) Initiative Best Travel Retail Exclusive Best Product Under US$100



June 15, 2020 - Entry deadline September 2020 – Winners announced

Your input can help shape the future of the industry by recognizing the best and brightest in the business – and if your company falls into one of these categories, encourage your colleagues to vote too.

DUTYFREEMAG.COM Follow us on Instagram @duty_free_magazine

 Virtual Event



The Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo Association Lounge in the atrium

Duty Free Magazine serves as a Preferred Media Partner at The Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo in October by HIBAH NOOR

Martin Moodie, Founder & Chairman, The Moodie Davitt Report



s the travel retail industry battles the devastating impact of the COVID-19 crisis, including the cancellation of its key annual TFWA World Exhibition, a new, first-of-its-kind event is set to take place this October allowing business to be done and people to connect. Only this time, it’s virtual. The inaugural Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo, to be held from October 12-16, is an international digital trade show and symposium designed to replicate a real conference and exhibition event, complete with reception zone, networking lounge, exhibition halls and auditorium. It will feature a variety of stands where exhibitors can showcase products and services. Online visitors (buyers and other retail management) will be able to view video, read and download literature and chat with exhibitors in real time, as well as attending keynote presentations and networking with other visiting delegates in the virtual auditorium. The five-day live event is scheduled for October 12-16 with a 30-day follow-up showcase running through into November 2020. After the live event, all exhibitor stands will remain open and active for 30 days and will be available online 24 hours per day. Delegates to the event will still be able to access material and downloads. Registration is now live along with its official website

This pioneering online expo is organized by The Moodie Davitt Report, with our leading regional titles Americas, Asia and Gulf-Africa Duty Free & Travel Retailing magazines serving as a Preferred Media Partner.

Saving time and money

The Moodie Davitt Report Founder & Chairman Martin Moodie explains the rationale behind the event: “Any trade show must reflect the austerity of our times and the need to deliver proper returns on necessarily restricted investment. That assumption underlines the inaugural Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo. It is an event for its times. No exhibitor or buyer will spend a cent getting there. No travel, no hotels, no entertainment, no taxis, no stress, and no lost time from the office. Buyers and retailers will enjoy free registration. Only exhibitors pay – and even then the fees are extremely accessible.” He is quick to emphasize that the initiative will not take the place of well-established industry events such as the TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes, but will be complementary. “Face-to-face shows remain vital. In fact, we are offering the trade associations complimentary promotional opportunities to ensure they benefit from the global awareness we create. We’re a big fan of the various associations’ shows (they are important to our business) and believe that face-to-face events will remain relevant long into the future. TFWA’s Cannes show, for example, is vitally important to the travel retail industry… But physical events, both now and in the future, need bolstering in a virtual format, we believe.” Hibah Noor, Editor-in-Chief of Americas, Asia and GulfAfrica Duty Free & Travel Retailing magazines describes the expo as “a pioneering initiative”: “Because of the COVID-19 restrictions and the cancellation of TFWA World Exhibition show in Cannes, we have joined The Moodie Davitt Report’s Virtual Expo as a Preferred Media Partner. We will be promoting this event because it’s a great initiative, plus we will be distributing our three regional titles there. We continue to fully support TFWA and all the other duty free associations in their day-to-day activities and we’re looking forward to meeting up with everybody – virtually – during and after what promises to be a full five-day live program.” Travel retail’s first digital expo and symposium is being driven by a long-established virtual event platform. The well-proven technology allows the organizers to leverage flexible virtual space to customize exhibitor booths, offer on-demand content, provide chat forums and generate optimal prospect engagement. Visitors don’t need to download or install any software to participate. They only need to have access to the internet.

Visitor and exhibitor benefits

For buyers, entry is free of charge. They will be able to visit every exhibitor’s stand; click on promotional material and videos to view their latest products; and set up private meetings inside a private chat room during the five live days. They can place orders, either during or after the event. For exhibitors, the advantages are many. The expo will be zoned and will include areas such as digital and technology; health & wellbeing; beauty; wines & spirits; hospitality (F&B to lounges to airport hotels); fashion & accessories; confectionery and fine foods; and watches & jewelry.

Each exhibitor will have their own Account Manager, care of The Moodie Davitt Report’s Singapore-based Virtual Stand & Experience Partner FILTR, to guide them through all the technical aspects and the Virtual Stand & Experience creation. To visit, buyers simply register their details on the stand, allowing Hibah Noor, Editor-in-Chief of exhibitors to know exactly who Americas, Asia and Gulf-Africa Duty Free & Travel Retailing magazines wants to see them. Exhibitors can make appointments and host live chats throughout the five-day live part of the show. They can showcase anything, such as new launches, campaign plans, prototypes, ideas for travel retail exclusives, and videos, etc.

One-to-one interaction

Other services available include a range of PR and communications services and preferred video partners who can create striking presentation material. Additional notable features of the event include: • Interact one-to-one with suppliers, vendors and other delegates • Exchange contact information and interact with travel retail buyers and executives • Download product information, research, data and videos for further reference • Connect with industry peers through an in-built audio, video and text messaging system • Attend live/recorded webinars and keep up-to date with the newest products and technologies • Each exhibitor will receive complimentary advertising in the official Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo Guide • A full Press Office service will be provided, ensuring press material is available to a wide range of industry and consumer media.

Conference and awards

A number of educational and conference elements are planned. The conference will feature a range of presentations and discussions all themed around shaping the travel retail and airport landscape of the future. Outstanding speakers have been lined up already, enabling participants to watch and listen without leaving their work or home office desk. In addition, two awards ceremonies will take place, both initiated and hosted by The Moodie Davitt Report: The Airport Food & Beverage (FAB) Conference & Awards for F&B operators and the inaugural Sight Lines Airport Advertising & Communications Awards, recognizing the best airport activations and campaigns across the brand world. THE AMERICAS DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING


Message From ASUTIL President

ASUTIL President Gustavo Fagundes


STRONGER TOGETHER During a webinar hosted by the the Duty Free World Council in June, ASUTIL President Gustavo Fagundes explained the actions his association was taking in the run-up to Latin America’s long-awaited recovery 16 THE AMERICAS DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING JUNE 2020


outh American duty free association ASUTIL (Asociación Sudamericana de Tiendas Libres) is working hard to position the region’s duty free industry for recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. ASUTIL President Gustavo Fagundes is interacting with regional governments, national associations of concessionaires

and aviation industry bodies to ensure the entire industry “comes back stronger together”. Fagundes gave an update on the current market environment in the region and the association’s key initiatives during a webinar hosted by the Duty Free World Council (DFWC) on June 3 attended by ACI World and other regional duty free associations. He said ASUTIL was keen to learn from the way other regions had dealt with this situation and to obtain the best benchmarks and information in the runup to the recovery. First, he explained that Brazil was at the peak of the pandemic crisis and it remained unclear if the number of COVID-19 cases in the country had stabilized or not. Speaking about the bankruptcies of major regional airlines such as LATAM, he told the webinar: “It really makes our life more challenging. Some of the most important airlines are facing problems. They are based in emerging markets and the governments are not ready to support the airlines in the way the West or European countries are able to.” Fagundes believes the recovery will come first from domestic flights and that duty paid will therefore become more important in the region. He called on the industry as a whole to take a better look at the duty paid side of the business, to ensure that travel retail remained relevant in the short term. Taking the example of Brazil, he said airports in some cities including Sao Paulo were starting to open their commercial areas, so duty paid would be the first to get going, before the duty free side. International flights in the region were only operating for humanitarian purposes, he reported, but there were small signs that the sector is recovering. Regional flights were going to start soon, he continued, citing resorts in Mexico, which will be served by Air France from June. And in July, Air France will begin operating in Chile. Long-haul flights with a duty free service will only restart after domestic and regional flights. Fagundes said the regional industry was working on digital initiatives and other services like home delivery for duty-

This is where we want to support our national associations and our concessionaires in order to make sure we come back quicker.” paid and reserve and collect, which were becoming even more important now. He said the industry should work on introducing legislation to make this type of business easier, in order to facilitate recovery. Turning to what ASUTIL is doing as an association, he explained that it had partnered with ACI-Latin America and Caribbean on a statement for the airport authorities with proposals for recovery, urging governments to help the industry. “This is about airlines, this is about the airport authorities and the concessionaires. In some countries we see the airlines are being supported to restart and in some countries we see that airports have received relief. So this is very important. In this region, in this crisis, we have to support all the industry together to make sure that we all come back stronger together.” In addition, ASUTIL aims to support all the national associations. For example, in Brazil, it sent a letter to the government, signed jointly with the national association for concessionaires, with business relief proposals. The association is also working on a new letter with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). And in June it is going to write a second wave of letters to support countries in the region and to support its national associations. Fagundes noted that the majority of the concessionaires’ contracts with the airports were not working and the recovery phase, with a smaller number of passengers, was going to require flexibility. “This is where we want to support our national associations and our concessionaires in order to make sure we come back quicker. The benchmarks we get from this webinar and our contacts with our colleagues in other regions will be key for that,” he concluded. THE AMERICAS DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING


One Red Kite

Doing the

right thing Kevin Brocklebank, founder of travel retail consultancy One Red Kite, offers advice for suppliers and retailers in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic by HIBAH NOOR

O Kevin Brocklebank, Founder of One Red Kite


ne Red Kite, a travel retail consultancy specializing in data management, has come a long way since it was established by Kevin Brocklebank about seven years ago. The UK-based company works with suppliers, gathering all their data and transforming it into workable reports that they can make better business decisions with. “We take a huge amount of task away from our clients which they really appreciate,” says Brocklebank, who was formerly employed at World Duty Free and has 25 years’ experience in retailing. The team also includes Jill Brocklebank, another ex-World Duty Free executive, who oversees One Red Kite’s other two divisions: Recruitment and Mystery shopping. The latter service recognizes the gap between what brands think is happening in-store and what is actually happening in-store.

“Usually there’s a big gap there,” says Kevin Brocklebank, who was speaking with Americas Duty Free magazine in May during the UK lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Data is essential

One Red Kite aims to grow its services slowly but surely. “We are sensible and only take on one customer at a time, particularly on the data side because we do it properly.” One Red Kite works with big, wellestablished brands that are among the top three suppliers in their respective product category. One example is French spirits group Pernod Ricard. “They are a fantastic client – they have brilliant brands, they are supportive and we work with them globally. We have a great relationship… We are behind the scenes but we do a very good job at supporting our customers. We are a small team in the UK and we are making a big difference to global brands around the world.” Brocklebank has a lot of plans in the pipeline for 2020. The company is in the process of onboarding a new customer amid the lockdown. “You’d have thought customers would say ‘cut spending, we can’t work with data’ but actually, data is really essential at the moment to enable you to make plans and better respond to the return. We prepared for this. As soon as there were hints of lockdown and having gone through so many different challenges having worked within travel retail,

we just prepared for it. We have been working consistently to deliver for our customers and so from that perspective, really nothing has changed….. and for the rest of 2020 we’re just going to continue to focus on what we do best.” Brocklebank acknowledges that staff hiring has been frozen and people are looking for work, which will make the Recruitment side of the company a challenge. He has every confidence that it will recover and brands will be looking for the right people for the right roles. He believes that they may not necessarily be people already working within the industry. “I think there’s an appetite for fresh thinking at the moment.”

Confidence is key

Brocklebank is upbeat about the postCOVID-19 recovery. “I think that there’s a level of normality in the street and people want to get out. When you talk to people about holidays, they can’t wait to go. If you gave them half a chance, they would be on that plane straightaway. I certainly would. If I could go on holiday tomorrow, I absolutely would. I wouldn’t have any issues about having to wear masks or anything like that. Whilst I understand this isn’t a pleasant situation, I think there’s a level of common sense that needs to be applied.” The rate of change will be dictated by government’s and legislation and how the travel retail industry works within that. “I think things like skincare and cosmetics

are going to be really difficult, because it is a high-touch category and people like to see the product on their skin or the feel of it. That will be a challenge, however the other categories should return to a level of normality. The most important thing is that the airports and airlines get things right from the perspective of how the customer sees that journey… If for example airports aren’t cleaning the handles of the trolleys, and you see that check-in desks aren’t taking care of hygiene… people will have a poor experience getting airside, I think they will switch off from shopping. But, if they get it right at those stages, people who enter airside will think OK, I’m prepared to shop.” Potentially, travel retailers may use pop-up carts stationed at the gates stocking a variety of essential items that people tend to buy, whether it’s an Absolut oneliter bottle or a packet of sweets, Brocklebank believes.

Drive every penny

Retailers will also promote online shopping, but he thinks that a service like “Shop & Collect” will have its own challenges because there is a perceived barrier. “In the eyes of the shopper, there’s so much that could go wrong. Will my flight go? Will I find the counter to pick up the things I bought from Shop & Collect?” When it comes to people having less disposable income, Brocklebank believes there are a lot of creative ways to approach this, like offering different pack sizes, rather than giving discounts, but he thinks there will be a lot of instore promotions. In this scenario, One Red Kite is helping its clients better understand promotional performance. In a few clicks they can understand whether their promotion has driven incremental value and whether commercially it’s the right thing to do. He believes brands will struggle to offer deeper price cuts, and that if retailers go the discounting route, the volume uplift may not be enough to offset the discount given leading to lost profitability. Overall, does Brocklebank see any light at the end of the tunnel? “I think now is the time to focus on getting things done properly, going back to doing the right things. It’s as simple as: clean those shelves, make sure you’ve got the stock out in the right quantities and make sure the staff are doing the right thing at the right time, to drive every penny.” THE AMERICAS DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING


Michael Payne Discusses Americas


a priority, says IAADFS IAADFS is doing its best to assist and support the pandemic-hit industry in the Americas while staying in touch through webinars by HIBAH NOOR

IAADFS is keeping in touch with its members via a series of webinars


Michael Payne, President & CEO of IAADFS and José Luis Donagaray, ASUTIL SecretaryGeneral addressing delegates during the Summit’s educational session in 2019


AADFS (International Association of Airport Duty Free Stores) has stepped up its advocacy efforts in the face of the COVID-19 crisis that has devastated the business of its concessionaire members across the Americas. Interviewed by Americas Duty Free magazine, Michael Payne, President & CEO, said that the duty free trade body’s primary focus in the last few weeks has been trying to get some relief for the business. IAADFS has been working with the region’s airport authorities, related organizations and legislative officials in particular. “Our biggest impetus so far is to get some relief and educate governments about our industry. The advocacy piece has really been the focus. We've worked hard to stay in touch with our sister organizations such as the Duty Free World Council (DFWC), ASUTIL, ETRC and others. We've been in regular communication. “All the concessionaires are suffering not just the duty free industry all of the concessionaire groups are active trying to get

relief; we're all in the same boat in many respects,” he said. The US was hit hard because of the decline of international flights early on in the pandemic. “There are no customers now to speak of and very few international flights,” he reported, noting that international flights are likely to get going much more slowly than domestic flights, and in some cases they won't come back for a while. “It's been a devastating time globally. Everyone is seeing the same numbers, over 90% of the flights aren't happening.”

Plans for 2021 Summit of the Americas

IAADFS was forced to cancel its 2020 Summit of the Americas trade show, which was scheduled to take place from March 30 to April 2 in Orlando, Florida, but at this point it plans to hold the Summit event in April next year in Palm Beach, near Miami, Florida. The organizers have done some initial “brainstorming” about the event format. “It's time to start planning but it's going to be difficult, as we just don’t know what the impact is going to be,” said Payne. “We have done some surveying, sending out questions to concessionaires to get some sense of what their thoughts are in terms of the Summit. I think we need to reimagine the Summit and make some adjustments to overall feel and look going forward. I don’t think it’s going to be exactly what the show was before. We need to offer, more options. more variety. Being close to Miami will be helpful in terms of travel. People can take a quick train or drive instead of a plane and we will work for other cost savings. We will

At this time, IAADFS plans to hold the Summit event in April next year in Palm Beach, near Miami, Florida.

be discussing the Summit in more detail soon; but we can't wait too long if we want to ensure a successful event.” A number of challenges remain for the show organizers, including the fact that the travel retail community would not be “in full recovery” by April of next year. “There's going to be some financial restrictions and challenges for a period of time. When those situations happen, one of the things you cut is travel. Maybe some people don't want to spend as much money on booths. We'll have to sort out all of these issues.” Having said that, a lot of people have told Payne they are looking forward to the show. Suggested ideas for next year’s event include introducing a hybrid format, with some in-person opportunities and some virtual. “We have capability to make that happen and that might be a solution. We live in a small, niche industry and I don’t think that people want too many virtual

events a year. That's complicated and I do think people will still want face to face time.” We need to find the right balance.

Tough times ahead

To keep up with its members, IAADFS has hosted three webinars so far, and a fourth is likely. Two have taken place with supplier members, to talk about what is happening globally around the industry. IAADFS has also engaged with the DFWC, which is aiming to guide a common industry approach to reopening retail outlets worldwide. This discussion revolved around what kind of assistance people were able to get, and if they could take advantage of other governmental programs. Rene Riedi, Chairman of IAADFS and Dufry Group CEO for Division Central and South America, gave insights into what is happening globally. The response to the discussion has been positive, said Payne.

“It's clear that a lot of folks are going to suffer after this. It's going to be tough for some of the smaller and medium-sized companies.” - MICHAEL PAYNE, PRESIDENT & CEO, IAADFS THE AMERICAS DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING


E. Gluck Update

D A E H A G LOOKIN Adaptation: key to E. Gluck’s past and future success by LAURA SHIRK


Before the pandemic, E. Gluck launched Considered, a collection within its Anne Klein brand, which focuses on consideration of the environment and supports the continued increase of social responsibility and mindful consumption

lthough adjusting to working from home hasn’t been especially challenging for Rob Robertaccio, Vice President Global & Travel Retail Sales for US watch manufacturer, E. Gluck Corporation, it’s been interesting. Based in Long Island, NY, Robertaccio says the primary difference from before the COVID-19 crisis is not having a commute, which normally helps delineate the workday. Having been busier than expected, as the hours blend together, he finds it difficult to notice when to stop working. Another major difference for Robertaccio is losing the social aspect of work life. He states that removing the social mechanisms of in-office operating can, however, lead to increased productivity. His team has made a habit of getting together every so often to share a virtual cocktail and catch up on non-workrelated conversation.

Along with baking bread from scratch and completing odd projects around the house, he’s taking advantage of the change in weather. Looking ahead, he’s ready to return to travel and find out about the modified airport experience.

New normal

While responding to the “new normal” and speculating on the future of the travel retail industry, the management of E. Gluck is taking time to create opportunity by prioritizing responsibilities, analyzing strategies and recognizing new ways of conducting business. Top of mind: identifying approaches and methods that work for the brand. Although the future is unpredictable, the company is trying to streamline its workflow, expand its working relationships, position its product in the right places and prepare for what’s to come. On his last day in the office, Robertaccio


loaded his car with a collection of watches in order to show February samples via virtual follow-up meetings.

Restrictions and safety

Since the impact of COVID-19 differs from across the globe, E. Gluck is experiencing a versatile approach in regards to the lifting of restrictions. Deemed as essential, its international warehouses remain open in accordance with local and federal legislation. “The safety of our employees is of utmost importance. We continually monitor the situation and strictly adhere to the CDC’s guidelines, as well as those put into place by our local governments. We continue to implement these ongoing measures to ensure the health and safety of our employees,” Robertaccio states.

Business practices

Founded more than 60 years ago, E.

Gluck considers consumer interaction key to its business model. With the support of technology, the company is finding creative ways to connect with consumers and retailers and increase online sales. A pillar of the company’s success, adapting to the virtual environment is in line with its research, development and innovation and the progression of its brick and mortar department store partners. Moving forward, E. Gluck is prepared to develop and strengthen an online infrastructure in order to successfully participate in virtual trade shows and access the right technology to showcase the design of its products within an in-home environment.

Cruise business

With Carnival Cruise Line announcing its plan to return to service in August, it’s evident that different scenarios exist between airport retail and cruise ship retail. Robertaccio points out, with greater accessibility to travel, the cruise ship customer is particularly resilient. This is a big plus for E. Gluck’s Anne Klein brand, which is the company’s primary cruise ship business. After a significant break in sailings due to the pandemic, existing best-sellers will reappear as new to passengers. A sample of Anne Klein’s Considered collection, E. Gluck’s first step toward practicing sustainability was the sourcing and selling of solar options at an accessible price point.

Deemed as essential, while the rest of its office staff is working from home, E. Gluck’s international warehouses remain open in accordance with local and federal legislation


Recent events have heightened the sense of social responsibility and mindful consumption around the globe. Robertaccio refers to Anne Klein’s Considered collection, which focuses on environmental impact, adding that the company is slightly ahead of the curve in terms of implementing more sustainable products and practices within the industry. E. Gluck’s first step toward practicing sustainability was the sourcing and selling of solar options at an accessible price point. Since then, its product development team has researched ways to add more sustainable components to its offerings. This led to the sourcing of petroleum-free bioplastics, the using of vegan leathers and the making of straps from apple and pineapple skins. Having launched before the pandemic, the first round of shipments received an immediate positive response. Falling into the opportunity category, Robertaccio notes that the team has been in contact with its partners and plans to re-launch the collection post-recovery. THE AMERICAS DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING


 Regional Report




Joshua Robinson, CEO of ITI in Houston


The factories in China that are finally back to full capacity are seeing a slump in traditional orders, but also an opportunity to shift their focus and supply new products to meet new demands

s air travel tentatively plans to take off again, companies that at one time in the not-so-distant past focused on elegant designs and name-brand products are now looking to adapt to fulfill the new demands of travelers in the new normal. Soothing lotions and hydrating balms that help passengers get through a long flight are now giving way to requests by airline customers for personal protective equipment (PPE). Lotions are now less important than sanitizers. Hygiene more important than fashion. How long it will go on, few can say. But one thing is for certain: the amenity kit companies that currently do not have a regular source for PPE items will be seeking one out among the thousands of small-to-medium sized factories in the teeming cities of China, where manufacturing capability, infrastructure and supply chain are just getting back to normal operations – or what will be normal from here on out. And in that way, suppliers should be fortunate. For despite all the disruptions and chaos, a nation that is filled with nimble factories that can quickly shift their cut-and-sew capabilities to produce the goods to meet demand is already moving in that direction.

Chinese manufacturing can quickly shift gears to new products now being developed for airline cabins

Chinese factories are nearly full capacity, but vital medical supplies are being delayed due to a lack of belly space for overseas flights

A snapshot of the present time and what the months ahead may look like can be found in the China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI). Every month, questionnaires are sent to more than 700 manufacturing enterprises in the country. The data is compiled from the responses about purchasing activities and supply of materials. Manufacturers are asked if there is improvement, no change or a deterioration of activities. The answers generate a PMI number of 1 to 100. As of April 30, the PMI for China stood at 50.8 (roughly meeting the forecast of 51 for the month). Any number above 50 indicates an expansion of activities from the previous month. At the end of March, the PMI for China was at 52, while the end of February it registered a dismal 35.7. While such information is useful to gauge manufacturing activity and recovery, it is also useful to look back to the beginning of the year and to see the chain of events that created the storm in the Chinese manufacturing market caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. One of the companies that has been watching the China manufacturing market for more than 45 years is Houston-based ITI Manufacturing. The company has been a source for firms in the United States that are seeking to establish manufacturing operations in China. On a year-to-year basis, ITI has approxi-

mately 100 active customers for which it finds suitable factories and goes one step further — to guarantee the quality of everything its client base of factories produces. With teams in place in all the manufacturing hubs in China, company officials watched as manufacturing chugged at full capacity to get as much product off the factory floor and out the door as possible before the end of January, which signaled the start of the Chinese New Year. It is then factories shut down and workers return home for a long holiday. Even at the start of the Chinese New Year there was rumblings of lockdowns and closings as the virus began spreading, Joshua Robinson, President and CEO at ITI tells us. When the government began closing down factories and restricting travel, Robinson said many workers were stuck in their homes and away from work and the cities they lived. Subcontractors and other suppliers of material to the factories were in the same situation. As the weeks wore on and factories were idled, Robinson said a slow opening took place with companies applying to the Chinese government to begin operations. “The way the Chinese government approached those applications was: the bigger you were, the earlier your application was recognized and approved,” Robinson says. For many factories across the country, he added, that took most of the month of March for workers to filter back in and get production into the range of 50 percent to 75 percent, which was a point when managers could give customers reliable lead times and capacity estimates. Under normal circumstances, Robinson points out that the country’s manufacturing engine would have been at full capacity in February. Fast forward to today, Robinson said he sees travel activity and business slowly returning to normal, but with a “residual fear” that will keep travelers away from crowds, flights and tourist destinations. This travel fear extends into the manufacturing sector and supply chain. Since airline passenger traffic is so low, there are fewer aircraft in the air. There is less belly space flying around the world for cargo. As a result of less belly space, air freight rates out of China have greatly increased. What was once a market that charged from US$3 to $5 per kilogram, now costs up to $15, says Robinson. “There is a high demand because people need all this PPE immediately,” he says. “But there is very, very low supply because nobody is traveling.” It is still in question whether this will make other countries in the region, particularly those that fared better through the virus such as South Korea or Singapore, more attractive for manufacturing. The possibilities of other manufacturing hubs have been studied in recent years since the Trump administration began leveling tariffs on goods from China, says Robinson. Vietnam has also surfaced as an attractive alternative, too. Still, he adds that there is less infrastructure and population to support widespread manufacturing. He adds that even with the tariffs on China, prices will still be higher, but the other nations are seeing an increase in demand that will continue. Now, as the epicenter of the virus has moved from China to Europe to North America, Robinson sees a place where the first steps toward normalcy will happen. “It is an incredible time, and unlike anything that most people have ever seen,” he says. THE AMERICAS DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING


Supply Chain Update

Customers can modify what PPE products come in the Stay Safe kit by Albéa Travel Designer

Supply chain

champions As COVID-19 continues to affect nearly every sector of the hospitality and travel industry, amenity suppliers are thinking fast an d switching gears to help fight the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. From creating personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline healthcare workers to PPE-themed passenger amenity kits for when the industry eventually takes to the skies again, these fearless suppliers are innovating in the face of unprecedented circumstances.


Up until the surge of the pandemic, sanitary equipment was a small part of Kaelis’ product range. But, following the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation to wear masks and the global PPE shortage, the supplier has seen a sharp increase in the demand for the products. “Kaelis has the knowledge, structure, network and technology platform to handle the supply of personal protective equipment in an agile and reliable way that is so needed now,” says Federico Heitz, Chief Executive Officer at Kaelis. “This is the reason we decided to dedicate our powerful supply-chain management capabilities to fight against COVID-19, not only for our customers but also for any company or government institution that might need it globally.” The supplier is currently donating its full resources built in the last 23 years to produce personal protective equipment, 26 THE AMERICAS DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING JUNE 2020

These industry suppliers are pivoting focus to help battle the coronavirus pandemic by JANE HOBSON

Federico Heitz, Chief Executive Officer, Kaelis

including masks, goggles, gloves, sanitizing gels and wipes and protective gear. For other companies who want to get involved in similar virus relief efforts, Heitz stresses the need for a strong and reliable supply chain. Logistics technicalities and the lack of air cargo options at are two the biggest challenges of the moment. For example, Kaelis’ execution from development to delivery for its PPE happened in an efficient 10 days Heitz tells us, including developing the PPE product catalog, going to market, confirming

The Clean Kit by FORMIA includes PPE and sanitizer products which comply with international safety standards and regulations

contracts, manufacturing and airlifting, receiving customs clearance and delivering PPE where needed. To help facilitate the supply chain process, Kaelis launched the PPE Platform. In the platform, customers can place, pay and track orders online. The company has also contributed to the fight against the pandemic by donating 20,000 blankets to several Spanish hospitals, shelters and the Red Cross. It has also revealed the Self-Protective Pocket Pouch for passengers that includes a mask, gloves, hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes. Customers can request to include more products from Kaelis’ range of PPE in the kit.

Albéa Travel Designer

For French supplier Albéa Travel Designer, COVID-19 has been an invitation to reinvent itself by adapting to the new needs of passengers. The supplier offers personal protective gear in a kit or independently: masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, wipes and hand cream among other items. The company used its network of suppliers and local teams to secure the items. For kits, Albéa Travel Designer proposes a selection of pouches that can be customized to reflect a brand. Its parent group, Albéa, refocused its factories to produce more pumps and tubes, collaborating with cosmetic customers in order to provide more hand sanitizer to the market. “Planning our company’s path is the only way to survive in such a competitive market,” says Maxime Ridoux, Business Development & Partnerships Manager at Albéa Travel Designer. “It has helped us refocus our priorities. Despite this unprecedented context, it has brought solidarity and collaboration.”

Galileo Watermark

To support the increase in demand for onboard cabin sanitization and cleanliness, Galileo Watermark has developed a range of masks, gloves, alcohol wipes, hand sanitizing wipes and more. “We believe these items will be required not just in the short term but longer term,” says Johaness Kloess, Managing Director at Galileo Watermark. “Whilst amenity kits are an important part of the onboard experience, they may look different when flying

Bayart Innovations is supplying masks to firefighters

resumes and so it’s important we respond to the changes and adapt to the current circumstances.” Kloess adds, “That situation has definitely forced us to take stock of the industry and consider what we could do differently in future and how we can better support our customers in this rapidly evolving environment.”


FORMIA has shifted its supply chain solutions for airline customers to overcome any production challenges and meet requirements during the pandemic to support and protect passengers. It has developed a flexible setup with supply partners so that production, locations and timing can be shifted where necessary. The supplier has developed a range of PPE and sanitizer products to support passenger health, wellbeing and hygiene through the journey. The new range is designed to offer a choice from airline branded to trusted brands to provide a flexible solution for each airline’s passenger requirements. The company has also taken special precautions to keep its employees protected as they work to support their customers. “The health and safety of our staff is paramount, and FORMIA has taken measures to support our employees, including providing face masks and hand sanitizers for all staff, daily temperature checks, private transportation and increased social distancing measures in all areas of our office,” says Niklas Sandor, Chief Marketing Officer. “We have invested in new equipment including laptops and phones for all our staff, to support the working from home requirements.”

Bayart Innovations

French supplier Bayart Innovations established its response to the pandemic by supporting both its local community and the global community it works with. THE AMERICAS DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING


Supply Chain Update

This door mat with shoe disinfectant by AK-Service helps keep businesses virus-free and is recyclable at the supplier’s facility after use

“Locally, we imported masks for firefighters and we offered masks to airlines,” says Chief Executive Officer Albert Facques. “We are part of the same community and together we can act. The Bayart Innovations team adapts, even from a distance, to remain connected in good communication to meet our customers needs efficiently,” he adds.


Buzz is diverting efforts to providing urgently needed hygiene products. The company can supply a range of protective products including hand sanitizer gels and towelettes, face masks, gowns, goggles, the Microbe-Barrier® range of textiles and children’s products. “With our experience in supplying some of the world’s biggest airlines, we have the manufacturing and supply chain processes to adhere to the strictest global quality standards and produce at a scale needed at this time,” says Simon Yaffe, Director of Client Relationship at Buzz.


With a production factory based on home soil in St. Petersburg, Russia, AK-Service was able to quickly begin producing masks, sanitizers, gowns and other products to protect against the virus. The company has expanded its supply horizon beyond aviation to include any market that needs personal protective equipment. “It is time for all of us to come together even when the situation tears us apart,” says Nadia Trofimchuk, Business Development Director at AK-Service. “We believe that crises broadens ideas and helps us focus on what is really important and to see new opportunities that we did not notice before.” AK-Service most recently launched a door mat with shoe disinfectant to help keep businesses virus-free. The mat is recyclable at the supplier’s facilities after use.

WK Thomas

UK-based packaging company WK Thomas has responded to a call from the country’s National Health Service (NHS) for 28 THE AMERICAS DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING JUNE 2020

pre-packed cutlery kits, which the supplier has been assembling primarily for use on aircraft for more than 80 years. The prepacked cutlery is sent to NHS sites across the UK and Scotland, including the recently opened Nightingale Hospital in ExCel London. “We were in a fortunate position where we could quickly pull together all the necessary components and get these new packs delivered to where they are needed most,” Managing Director of WK Thomas Alex Noake tells us. “I am extremely proud of the way the team at WK Thomas has reacted to this pandemic. We are blessed to have a resilient, motivated, committed and adaptable team. We are committed to doing whatever we can to help aid the fight against COVID-19 and as part of a key supplier network, we are continuing to remain operational providing essential products to key workers.” During this unprecedented time, Noake says, it’s important to find the appropriate balance between remaining flexible, offering help wherever possible and maintaining safe processes within the business. “Although the landscape is rapidly evolving, it is important we are there for our customers and can react to their requirements through this period of recovery, whilst working together to prepare for the future,” Noake says.

En Route International

Onboard food and service solutions provider En Route International has partnered with a number of organizations, charities and social enterprises to support frontline healthcare works and vulnerable communities across the United Kingdom. The company’s ambient meals provide a quick and practical solution in a number of settings with space and time constraints. The products do not need to be refrigerated, have a long shelf life and can be eaten quickly, conducive to a busy schedule and shift work. En Route is also donating cheese, bread and other snacks to help support those who need it. “As a food business, we understand the role we can play in helping the national effort to tackle the issue facing communities during this COVID-19 lockdown,” Hamish Cook, En Route Executive Director, tells us. “There is no doubt that our sector is facing an unbelievably challenging period but new ideas often stem from adversity so it’s time to really challenge our thinking and help drive positive change wherever we can,” Cook says.

Alex Noake, Managing Director, WK Thomas

Onboard Experience

A clean bill of health As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the world, airline suppliers are responding to the clarion call for effective cabin hygiene products



urprisingly, when it comes to cabin hygiene, there are no regulations for international airlines to adhere to. However, on March 20, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued interim guidance on aircraft cleaning and disinfection in relation to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, calling for airlines to use aircraft manufacturer-approved products. Spanish company AIRE provides a full cleaning and disinfection service for cabin interiors and uses aircraft-approved prod-

Tommaso Fiorillo, Business Development Manager, AIRE

ucts that are in compliance with EASA safety directives. The goal of this service is to safeguard passengers, cabin crew and airport staff from any contagion through a deep cleaning and disinfection of cabin surfaces. The disinfectant product has been tested against coronavirus families, confirming its effectiveness against COVID-19, notes Tommaso Fiorillo, Business Development Manager. AIRE uses a preliminary nebulizer, followed by a deep spray pump with a cloth scrubbing, covering all the surfaces subject to contamination for passengers, crew and airport staff. “Our customers are taking advantage of current aircraft stops to undertake cabin disinfection in order to be ready, once operations restart, to provide passengers with a well disinfected and safe environment,” he says, noting the importance of effective cleaning to instill confidence in passengers about flying again. Frasers Aerospace is among a number of suppliers offering specialist disinfectants. Its Bacoban for Aerospace product has received flight certifications for use aboard all types and sizes of aircraft and lasts for 10 days after being applied to a surface, combating most germs and


viruses, including COVID-19. Once applied to a surface, Bacoban for Aerospace establishes an ultra-thin nanolayer with a lasting effect, and demand for the product is “extremely high”, says Director Bryan Ribbans. The product is now available direct from its authorized distributor for the US and Canada, Torch III Aviation. In addition to the ready-for-use version, Frasers Aerospace has introduced a fogging formula that allows airlines to treat large areas. Entire aircraft cabins can be cleaned in a short time, according to Ribbans. Flitetec recently launched MX14 Aero, a water-based antibacterial cleaner to remove ink and stain marks from soft furnishings, leather and plastics. It has just gained ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation for its antibacterial qualities. Managing Director Trevor Lea says: “MX14 is formulated to not only comply with the required regulations and conform to rigorous aerospace specifications, it is the only cleaner in the industry to be 100 percent biodegradable, with no chlorines, bleaches or solvents, leading the way to a greener cabin and planet. All packaging is made of recyclable materials. It has refillable dispensers, so no single use plastic is involved.” US manufacturer Celeste Industries Corp has seen an uptick in demand for its products to control the spread of germs, including hand soaps, hand sanitizers,

Dimer LLC’s GermFalcon robot uses ultraviolet C (UV-C) light to disinfect the cabin

Celeste Sani-Cide EX3 broad-spectrum disinfectant/cleaner and Sani Luxe Hand Sanitizer

Aero-Sense has upped its production of its AMS 1452 and Boeing D6-7127 certified Cabin Disinfectant

cleaning kits for onboard biohazard spills and broad-spectrum disinfectant/cleaner. It expects most future demand to come from Celeste Sani-Cide EX3 broad-spectrum disinfectant/cleaner and Sani Luxe Hand Sanitizer. Emily Romblad, Customer Marketing Manager, believes airlines have done a lot to improve the safety of their passengers during the outbreak, including disinfecting their aircraft every night. “Moving forward, we expect this to continue in some capacity. In addition, an increase in hand sanitizing as passengers and crew become more aware of how to decrease the spread of germs.” In response to the pandemic, AeroSense has upped its production of its AMS 1452 and Boeing D6-7127 certified Cabin Disinfectant, and has also speeded up the development of a new product, AeroSense Hygienic Hand Gel. “As demand for hand gel is currently immense worldwide and we are a chemicals manufacturer, we were in the perfect position to help everyone out by introducing a cleansing hand gel for better hand hygiene, the most important factor to help contain the spread of the virus,” says Robbe Vangheluwe, International Sales. Freshorize provides hand soap and hand sanitizer to passengers and crew to help prevent the spread of disease. It also offers a Multipurpose Disinfectant EPA Wipe, which has demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to the

COVID-19 virus on hard, non-porous surfaces. The company has received requests for passenger kits that include alcohol-based wipes for hands and surface, protective gloves and masks, and hand sanitizer. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer has been most in demand, according to Aziz Patel, CEO of Freshorize. GermFalcon is a new solution to cabin hygiene that takes a different approach. The robot, created by a US-based doctor, uses ultraviolet C (UV-C) light to disinfect the cabin, and uses similar technology to that found in the healthcare sector. The machine is pushed along the aisle by an operator and is designed to be the same size as a meal cart to fit easily inside the cabin. “Airlines should look to the healthcare sector for effective disinfecting solutions,” says Elliot Kreitenberg, President of Dimer LLC, which supplies the GermFalcon robot. “We understand how UV-C works in hospitals and it’s reliable when properly applied. It reaches all high-touch surfaces, and there’s no better way to disinfect the cabin. It takes five minutes to clean a B737 narrow body jet, working at 30 rows per minute.” Kreitenberg notes that there are no regulations or standards for airline disinfection and says that it’s difficult to disinfect a cabin with the existing agents available. Airlines can help spread diseases, and Dimer has found a way to intervene on disease control.

Malton Inflight is providing protective face masks and other PPE items for the entire world – not just the airline industry THE AMERICAS DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING


Onboard Experience

MALTON INFLIGHT PIVOTS TO PPE Malton Inflight is using its decades of experience to supply personal protection equipment (PPE) to the aviation industry and beyond. “We have pivoted as a company to use our network of factories, logistics and contacts, especially in China, to provide PPE equipment for the whole world – not just the airline industry. It’s a mammoth challenge, as global demand is vastly outstripping supply, but we just feel proud that we’re able to help in some way,” says CEO Gordon Oakley, who has been receiving requests for new PPE items every day amid the COVID-19 crisis. “We have donated as much PPE stocks as we can to where it is most needed and we have now been selected and approved as a supplier to government bodies and international agencies too.” The company is providing protective face masks, nitrile gloves, disposable gowns, head covers, antiseptic hand wipes and anti-viral sprays, among other items. Malton Inflight is also developing a new anti-viral spray that kills the coronavirus germs and leaves a protective coating on surfaces, which lasts for up to 100 days. The product can be sprayed throughout the cabin interior and is currently awaiting final certification. “We have no doubt that our new ‘Virus sLayer’ will pass any stringent testing with flying colors. This will be a gamechanger for airlines, which can spend less time and save cost in cleaning. Meanwhile it ensures the aircraft environment will remain protected and safe.” As part of its regular product portfolio, the company offers Anti-Virus Hand Gel, Sprays and Anti-Virus Hand Wipes, all of which remove 99.9 percent of bacteria on hands and surfaces.

AIRE’s disinfectant product has been tested against coronavirus families, confirming its effectiveness against COVID-19

The start-up company has given a handful of robots to the aviation sector as part of its COVID-19 emergency response. It is now building more units, which should be ready during May. In the inflight catering sector, Diskomat has seen an upswing in demand for solutions that minimize the frequency of manual handling of wash-wares, such as plates and cutlery. “The fewer times equipment is touched, the lesser the risk that contamination will occur,” says Tomas Jämtander, Marketing Director, Flight catering solutions. The company has observed an increased number of inquiries for its Wexiödisk Automatic Cutlery Sorting (ACS) machine. The cutlery sorter has been used for over 20 years in large kitchens worldwide. To get the best result, the ACS cutlery sorter should be combined with a dedicated WD cutlery ware-washer. Diskomat is also expecting to see increased demand for its Wexiödisk 18CW trolley washer, stationary and mobile cart lifts, as part of its customized designs of ware wash areas, tray set operations and packaging of carts. The pandemic is forcing flight caterers and hospitals to rethink and further advance their current hygiene measures and processes, the company believes.

Many operators are already beginning to invest in ware-washing solutions that require less manual handling to ensure optimal hygiene as well as improved ergonomics.

New products in the pipeline

In terms of product development, AIRE is working on a solution to apply an ozone treatment to further disinfect the entire cabin environment, to remove any possible bacteria/virus residues downstream the cleaning/ disinfection process. It is also testing cleaning products to complement its existing service. Freshorize plans to expand its cleaning line by offering a ready to use EPA spray cleaner in multiple sizes, while Aero-Sense intends to launch AeroSense Cabin Cleaner Triple Action and Aero-Sense Cabin Air Freshener. Meanwhile, Flitetec is developing a range of seat blockers and acrylic transparent screens to aid social distancing on all aircraft types.


Looking to the future, AIRE’s Fiorillo foresees that regular cabin cleaning and disinfection will remain a primary requirement for airlines, as it is today,


but differently from how it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, he predicts a change in soft furnishing maintenance with an increase in seat covers’ cleaning cycles and a daily disinfection for carpets during night stops. He says aviation is strongly investing in R&D activities, developing several solutions with a short lead time, such as new substances, cleaning drones, automatic nebulizers, and aircraft-integrated systems which self-disinfect. Malton Inflight’s Anti-Virus Hand Wipes remove 99.9 percent of bacteria on hands and surfaces

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Ritter Sport

Ritter Sport’s Jan Pasold delivers a dose of reality while preparing for the future Americas Duty Free caught up with the optimistic, positive, yet reassuringly realistic Jan Pasold, Managing Director Global Travel Retail at Ritter Sport. Speaking to him from his home office in Cologne Germany, we find Pasold, like many around the world, has taken on a few new titles, including crisis manager and home school teacher.



s the travel retail industry looks for the light at the end of the tunnel, Pasold is quick to remind us that a new normal will face us on the other side. “Whether it is the duty free industry or the planet, we have to find a new normal.”

The beginning of a banner year

At the onset of 2020, Ritter Sport had been gearing up for a fantastic year. The travel retail team was set to grow, and the brand was establishing itself outside of its home market, into the Americas and Asia. “January was great, February was still ok. It would have been a fantastic year for us. We would have had a great Q1, which is normally a struggling quarter.” The virus then took the German confectionery giant slightly off track as the ensuing pandemic forced the world to shut down. Pasold understands that this pause in travel will have everlasting effects. Despite this, he says Ritter Sport will be able to withstand and survive. “Travel behavior will be different. It will become much more expensive,” says Pasold. We are lucky at Ritter as we have a good price and a good product and we are in an impulse category.”

Subhead: Staying focused

The year may have been derailed by COVID-19, but Ritter Sport shows authenticity is embedded in its company DNA. Leading up to 2020, offering its customers a sustainable product at affordable price was a key focus for the company. Will this remain a focus? “For Ritter this is not a marketing tool. For Ritter it’s a company philosophy. The aim is by very latest 2025, everything we

do in chocolate is wrapped in chocolate.” Pasold highlights his challenge with excess stock, which he notes is an issue for the industry at large. Duty free is known for exclusive products paired with special pricing. This unique business model essentially represents duty free. Companies are now looking for avenues to unload this stock. At this time the company has donated items with upcoming expiry dates to several retailers, distributers, healthcare facilities and children's homes.

When lockdown ends

Pasold affirms that he thinks it will take time for duty free shops to generate the same amount of traffic once stores reopen; thus he suggests focusing on the best sellers would be the answer. The biggest challenge will be getting people in the store. “The key focus should be how to get the people in the store. We may be able to spin best sellers in every category so everyone only gets product that moves fast. For example, if we have 13-14 SKUs in the shop; now we will focus on 5,” states Pasold.

Changing landscape

Part of the traveler’s airport journey is grazing duty free to find exclusive products or new innovations — possibly trying a new perfume or sampling a chocolate or drink they may never have encountered before. The beauty category may lean towards digital tools to enhance their shopping experience, but the answer is not so easy for confectionary brands.



Ritter Sport’s Cocoa Selection Deluxe uses sustainable cocoa from traceable sources in Ghana, Peru and Nicaragua, making it a unique proposition for travel retail

During a recent TFWA webinar, presenters offered reassuring numbers showing that travelers are turning to e-commerce as an in-term solution to deviate from sluggish sales. Anson Bailey, Head of Consumer & Retail ASPAC, KPMG, addresses digital sales: “Digital retail is on the rise; this is something I’ve been talking about a lot… there are five key drivers: consumers are a lot more digitally minded, they are more tech savvy than ever before, and the use of data will be significant. We’re seeing the rise of Generation Z… and the brands have realized they have to be a lot more transparent than they ever were before.” While Ritter Sport is working with some duty free retailers to offer product online, including Heinemann in Europe, Tallink in Estonia and King Power in Thailand, Pasold remains a strong believer that brick and mortar duty free shops are here to stay — albeit with the support of digital options to optimize the experience for all travelers.

The future of travel

There is no sugar coating the truth that Pasold delivers: “They are telling us that travelers are researching luxury travel. People are browsing more. This is for sure real data. But what does it tell me? Yes, they dream of [traveling] now, while they are sitting at home and wish that they can do it. Let's see what happens in three months.”

Industy Voice

Loacker's plan to prevail by JAS RYAT


Juan Miguel Cabrera, Loacker’s Head of Travel Retail delivers optimism to move forward

Americas Duty Free: What is the general mood at Loacker? Juan Miguel Cabrera: We are a very happy family at Loacker. Loacker being a family-owned company allows you to work in harmony. Approximately 40% of the company had to adapt to work from home. All the production employees continued to work during the pandemic. The mood is very positive and we help each other. ADF: How has business been affected by COVID-19 and what are your plans to move forward, as Italy had a large number of cases? JMC: Business in travel retail has been heavily affected in all matters including order cancellations, postponed orders, forecast adjustments and requests for support. I guess this is the moment to bear with our partners during this period. “New” normal life should come one day; however, 2020 is probably a year to forget ASAP. The most uneasy step is to predict when and how we will arrive to the new normal, because news and predictions change every day. Our industry being based in air transportation is in a “no land” now. Summer is gone, not only in Italy but in the most visited countries of the world such as France and Spain. The other part that has not been easy to manage is logistics. All EU countries are suffering because of closed borders. The movement of merchandise from one country to another is hectic. We are now in the phase of deciding what our base is for the future, and we hope in coming weeks we will see next steps more clearly. Expansion in the Americas had been an area of focus for Loacker in 2020.

Loacker’s Tortina Pouch bag 189g is part of the brands travel reatail assortment

ADF: How do you plan to move forward considering the current situation? JMC: Initially this was to be our year of expansion in the Americas region. We had a very good and solid project to showcase at the Orlando trade show to reveal a new product range. I guess now our plans are postponed and the project has been moved to 2021 — once we can be sure of our plan and the quality of company and products. ADF: What’s your opinion on how quickly Latin America will recover once things get back to “normal”? JMC: The biggest challenge is still that we receive differing information. Also, the LATAM region was the last area affected by COVID-19, so will they be the last one to open up.

ADF: Are you working with operators to develop e-commerce channels? JMC: Only a few of them work in this channel. Obviously if there is a chance we are trying to be also into that arena. ADF: How do you think the interactions with confectionery brands in duty free will change going forward in regards to in-store activations? JMC: I guess that all this will change when the stores reopen. Covid-19 has affected our biggest social interactions, so the biggest constraint will be space. With new security and health measures shops and retailers will need to adapt. This will also affect promotions and tasting activities. THE AMERICAS DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING


Airports Council International

Latin American airport sector in crisis

Airports Council International Latin America and Caribbean Director General Rafael Echevarne

In an interview, Airports Council International - Latin America and Caribbean Director General Rafael Echevarne details the severe hit on airport traffic in the region by MARY JANE PITTILLA


he head of Airports Council International - Latin America and Caribbean (ACI-LAC) has spoken out about the “terrible” impact of the coronavirus on the airport sector in the region. In April, the airport industry body issued a joint statement with duty free trade association Asociación Sudamericana de Tiendas Libres (ASUTIL) calling on regional governments to issue urgent financial relief to the airports sector and to business partners, including duty free retailers, amid the COVID-19 crisis. In a message to duty free operators during an interview with Americas Duty Free on May 11, ACI-LAC Director General Rafael Echevarne assured the duty free industry that ACI-LAC is doing everything it can to restart flights. Echevarne said: “We’d like to assure commercial operators that our number one priority is to restart the airport business as well as ensure the health of passengers and personnel. We’re doing everything in our means to get flights going again. Commercial revenue is extremely important for airports, and we are as interested as the shop operators are to get business going. We depend on the revenue generated at the shops and the airports’ financial sustainability depends on those revenues.”

In March, ACI-LAC began calling on governments in Latin America and the Caribbean to issue relief measures for airport operators. Later the same month, it teamed up with ASUTIL on a joint statement, calling for measures including deferment of concession fees for airport companies, financial support for airports and their service providers to preserve liquidity, and suspension of tax payments. Echevarne confirmed that he had also written letters to certain regional governments and had held conference calls with a number of government representatives. He said the situation at airports across the region was “severe” with traffic having “practically disappeared”. In the last week of March, total traffic was down 92%, but excluding Brazil, Mexico and Chile, traffic had plummeted 97%, as there were still some flights in these three countries, mainly domestic. In Mexico, there are some international flights, Echevarne noted. He said that since the last week of March, the 92% figure would be lower, according to the latest information received by ACI-LAC. Argentina’s government has suspended even domestic flights and announced a week ago that there would be no flights until September.


However, other countries have indicated that airport traffic could restart in June. “We’re looking at June hopefully as the month when the recovery will begin.” Some airlines, such as Copa, have said they intend to fly in June, but it is up to the governments to lift travel restrictions. “Noises are being made and we want to see action,” he said. Echevarne described the impact of the current crisis as “terrible”. ACI-LAC has calculated that the revenue loss in the first quarter of 2020 was US$700 million in Latin America alone, and this will worsen, as there are now fewer passengers. Traffic for this year as a whole will be at least 50% down on 2019. In terms of economic impact, airport revenue will be US$5 billion less than last year. He said that while Latin America was among the last regions to be hit, the situation was still not under control, citing Brazil as an example. On the outlook, Echevarne said: “We will not reach 2019 passenger levels for at least two years, hopefully less.” He noted that Avianca, the region’s second-largest carrier, had announced it had entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 10. “That’s a major hit.”


MONARQ GROUP: OPEN FOR BUSINESS AND R E A DY F O R T H E F U T U R E While remaining open and fully operational, the company is supporting its distributor network by offering a series of e-learning programs and implementing MONARQ’s Social Club on Instagram



ince the outbreak of COVID-19, MONARQ Group has been fortunate enough to remain open and fully operational. Although a number of people are working either partially or completely from home, the current work environment is situational. With the safety of its staff of highest priority, some members of its team are working on a rotating schedule and MONARQ has adjusted the routing and in-office work spaces in order to practice social distancing. This variation in setting will become the new normal. “First and foremost, luckily we are, both financially and strategically, in a strong position as a company. Of course, from a personal point of view, this is a challenging period for many of us. However, from a business point of view, this is a time to move ahead, adapt and look for new opportunities. Once this is behind us, we will be stronger than ever before,” shares Robert de Monchy, Managing Director & Owner, MONARQ Group. Agreeing businesses should be using this time to invest in research, development and innovation, he notes it’s not always easy to cope with daily reality while, at the same time, prepare for the future. But it’s the only way forward. With international teams existing across the globe in USA, Mexico, Chile and the Netherlands, the company is used to working from a distance through its online communication platforms. With MONARQ not experiencing an interruption in business and operations, the company is supporting its distributor network and maintaining its level of service. In partnership with its brands, MONARQ is continuously offering e-learning programs to this network. However, in addition to educational tools, the company recognized the need for personal interac-

Robert de Monchy, Owner, MONARQ Group & Nicoline van Woerkum, International Marketing Manager, MONARQ Group

tion. By combining these two elements, the group developed MONARQ’s Social Club on Instagram, which allows followers to access various masterclasses and live sessions. “Our network has the unique opportunity to receive training from industry icons and these videos sessions also create an online platform for interaction between attendees, engaging with other industry professionals, while working from home,” states Nicoline van Woerkum, International Marketing Manager, MONARQ Group. Along with the success of its social club, MONARQ launched a new website and published a digital portfolio brochure. In connection with revising its original plan for 2020, the team is preparing a periodical “Latest Estimate” vs. its 2020 budget. While MONARQ’s first quarter was more than 30%+ vs. the same period as last year, the impact of the pandemic will result in a slow second and third quarter. At this point, the company is organizing based on the assumption that at least part of the industry will gradually return to “normal” by September. When it comes to the duty free channel, cruise ship and airport retailers will likely need more time to recover. With the recent increase in social responsibility and mindful consumption, it’s worth asking if this way of life will translate to the need for more sustainable products and practices within the travel retail industry. “We foresee an industry shake-out and that business will remain affected for the next 2-3 years minimum, possibly longer, depending on a number of factors such as the organization, its leadership, financial situation, the channel and territory. Fingers crossed that the survivors will also make ethical changes in the various aspects of their businesses. Social responsibility and sustainability will hopefully replace ‘shareholder value only’,” includes de Monchy. THE AMERICAS DUTY FREE & TRAVEL RETAILING


Tito's Handmade Vodka

Tito’s Handmade Vodka, ahead of the curve

John McDonnell, Managing Director International, Tito’s Handmade Vodka

Focusing on giving back, the leading spirit brand is reaching out to its global partners to identify organizations to support during this challenging time by LAURA SHIRK


ased in Boston, MA, John McDonnell, Managing Director International, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, is spending his time in lockdown cooking, taking long walks and concentrating on public service. Without the option of booking a reservation or dining out, he’s trying new recipes and practicing healthy eating. While recently on a call with several different restaurant owners, McDonnell discovered that many people within the hospitability industry have yet to decide whether or not they’ll re-open their doors right away once restrictions are lifted. Following the recovery process, he knows that the conducting of business and interacting with consumers, partners and distributors will take place in a different way; like many, he has been working to figure out what the “new normal” will look like.

Community efforts

As Chairman of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, McDonnell has helped to coordinate delivery of hand sanitizer, produced at the Tito’s distillery in Austin, TX, for use at the Convention Center in Boston, which has been transformed into a temporary hospital called Boston Hope. Housing postacute COVID-19 patients and homeless patients with the virus who do not require hospitalization in an acute care facility, the 1,000-bed hospital offers safety and protection. In addition to supporting those in need, he’s sending letters to senators and congressman on behalf of IAADFS; the

organization has been denied funding via the CARES Act, which is the federal coronavirus economic relief plan.

initiatives is an extension of Tito’s “Love, Tito’s” program.

Driving sales

Trade show future

Describing Tito’s as ahead of the curve in dealing with effects of this pandemic, John notes that the brand has teamed up with its international distributors in domestic markets to offer online home delivery services of Tito’s kits and mixtures. Although Tito’s duty free business is “virtually non-existent” at this time, Tito’s is a top-selling brand in home delivery. With the beverage alcohol industry experiencing unprecedented demand in e-commerce and off-premise sales, growth above baseline has steadied in recent weeks, hovering above +400% on average.

Giving back

Since the shutdown, Tito’s has been reaching out to its global partners to identify organizations to support through its giving back framework. Its giving back efforts include committing US$2 million to the United States Bartenders’ Guild, donating to the Sandals (Resort) Foundation, contributing to help provide meals to those in Amman, Jordan, who are financially challenged, and outfitting a hospital lounge for first responders in Jamaica. The team is also making gallons of hand sanitizer to help combat the national shortage and mailing kits to employees and first responders, which consist of bottles of hand sanitizer, surgical masks and latex gloves. With giving back at the core of its company culture, this list of community


Considering the revision of its 2020 plans, McDonnell says travel might not come back in a big way until December of this year, which means that there might not be any travel retail business for the foreseeable future. Moving forward, he questions the state of trade shows, samplings and tastings. With the continued practicing of social distancing, he believes that shows will begin to look like the FDFA conference in Toronto, Canada, with use of suites as opposed to a trade show floor. Across the board, he says, companies will be able to save money and reduce the footprint of their duty free store(s) by driving business online. There will always be a need for in-person conversations and meetings.

Coming together

As a result of COVID-19, there has been an increase in thoughts of social responsibility and mindful consumption across the globe. Recognizing that this way of life will translate to the need for more sustainable products and practices within the industry, McDonnell continues to be a proponent of developing and implementing a duty free app to practice contactless payment and unite the industry. As with the coming together of competitors to overcome the financial crash in 2008, McDonnell notes the duty free and travel retail business will figure out how to survive and thrive.

m1nd-set Study

Sharing information Customers demand new rules of engagement in post-pandemic travel retail, says study


nternational passengers will be expecting travel retail industry stakeholders to adapt to the new normal when flights resume, according to the latest consumer insights report by leading industry research agency m1nd-set. Based on research conducted earlier in May among 1,500 international passengers who have traveled internationally in the past 12 months, the report demonstrates some of the key attributes of experiential retail. It looks into what consumers find to be the most effective and engaging aspects of the shopping experience and how this will evolve once international travel resumes in the post-COVID-19 travel retail environment. The report also reflects on changes that will need to be made across the travel retail environment to ensure customers feel safe about entering stores – and, if they do not, how to take the store to the customer. The report discusses the challenges to retailers and their staff on communicating the new post-COVID-19 shopping process and restrictions, while still trying to engage and sell in-store. With more than 60% of shoppers saying they will refrain from engaging with retail staff when next traveling, m1nd-set believes customer engagement will present unprecedented challenges, for which new training programs will be essential for retailers and brands to prepare sales associates and brand ambassadors. Anna Marchesini, Project and Business Development Manager at m1nd-set, explained: “Our research shows that in the pre-pandemic era, more than 90% of shoppers say that touching the products is an important part of the shopping experience and


just less than half (48%) say they tried or tasted products before purchasing. Staff will have to be trained on how to sell in these new retail conditions and deal with difficult customers who don’t take well to these new rules of engagement.”

Shift to digitalization

m1nd-set asked consumers how they see the shopping experience evolving in the post-COVID-19 travel retail environment and the role which digital technology and innovation will play in this transformation. The shift to digitalization is, in the shopper’s mind at least, imperative for the future of retail and travel retail, as m1ndset’s Travel Retail Research Director Clara Susset underlined: “According to the study, Virtual and Augmented Reality applications are likely to take on a more central role in retail generally. 70% of shoppers say they want to see more prevalent use of VR and AR technology, with applications such as virtual mirrors for make-up and cosmetics product testing.” The shift to digital will mean a paradigm shift for duty free retailers in their approach to online retailing, said Susset. “There will need to be a concerted drive towards a more modern, user-friendly and interactive e-commerce presence for the global travel retail sector as well as further investment in consumer data platforms to create, curate and maintain an ongoing relationship with customers pre- and post-travel,” she concluded. The report was presented by m1nd-set’s Clara Susset during the next TRConnect webinar, organized by travel retail trade publication TRBusiness.