3 June 2014
LS travel retail ASPAC has hailed the opening of its MY Lifestyle Gallery store at the recently opened klia2, and underlined its ambitions to expand across multiple trading channels in the Asia Pacific region.
The retailer’s 500sq m MY Lifestyle Gallery, a cross-category concept store, features the first ever Elle Café in travel retail, and also offers a wide range of luxury fashion accessories, ready-to-wear, travel essentials, gifts and confectionery.
It carries over 25 brands under one roof including Calvin Klein Jeans, Lacoste, Rabeanco, Emporio Armani watches, Michael Kors watches, Guess Jewellery, L’Occitane and others. Separately, the company has opened a 108sq m Discover Malaysia store at the new terminal.
“MY Lifestyle Gallery is a very coherent concept combining many different brands and ideas,” LS travel retail ASPAC Chief Operating Officer Emmanuel de Place told The Moodie Report. “We have really achieved the sense of an emporium here, with the Elle café at its heart. There is a great selection of brands, it is easy to shop and to find what you need. Although klia2 is described as a low-cost airport, you’ll be surprised by the high standard of services and breathtaking infrastructure compared to most other low-cost terminals that you will see. We are serving the passengers of Kuala Lumpur’s newest terminal, rather than simply a low-cost passenger base.”
De Place highlighted the opening of the Elle Café brand in the channel with its first airport café (Elle Café is already present with downtown outlets in Japan and Vietnam). “It is a very different environment but one that retains the DNA of Elle,” he said. “It is a high-end, luxury lifestyle destination. It’s a brand that can act as a driver of penetration into the store. The Elle brand, which is all about accessibility, trend and style, has a big following. This pilot store will be a good test.”
The move underlines LS travel retail’s ambitions to grow in the food service business. The company’s alliance with Airest is one of its routes to developing the channel, but it has also grown organically too.
“We want to accelerate the development of food service in Asia Pacific now,” said de Place. “We already operate some coffee concepts; the next stage is to step into food and we have a plan to do this. First we need to understand the needs of travellers through a strategic analysis of the key markets. Then we have to look at where we can bring differentiation and use the expertise of the wider (Lagardère) group. Elle Café is a starting point for this. But it is clear that we will be competing for future airport food & beverage tenders, as well as potentially acquisitions as we grow. We want to be a top five player in this area.
“We have 30 years of experience in this area as a company, with more than 650 outlets,” he added. “In the past five years food service has grown by +300% in sales. We will develop by combining consumer insights with strategic partnerships and a portfolio of our own brands plus franchising in certain places. That way we can offer tailor-made solutions for airports.”
The expansion of the food service arm is part of a multi-channel thrust into the travel business for LS. The company has been a long-time market leader in travel essentials (news, convenience & gifts) mainly through its Relay brand, while it is also growing through concessions and acquisitions in the core duty free and luxury fashion sector.
“Because we can offer the three strands of the travel retail chain – Duty Free & Luxury, Travel Essentials and Food Service – we can also bring full retail solutions to smaller airports in China and Asia Pacific,” said de Place. “Many regional airports have a need for a company that can offer them scale across these categories, alongside a range of nice concepts.”
De Place confirmed the company’s interest in bidding on the current and upcoming duty free tenders in Sydney (bid deadline 4 June) and Auckland (later in the year). “Our strength is that we can offer something different and a variety of concepts across segments in travel retail, and we’ll do that with these opportunities. Sydney will be challenging of course, and we’ll bid only to make money. We are ready to take measured risk, and to invest in developing a long-term partnership with the airport.
“We believe we can deliver at both Sydney and Auckland, given the opportunity. We have big ambitions in Pacific. We already have a strong Travel Essentials business; our next step is to develop Duty Free and Luxury, which we have begun through Aelia Duty Free, as well as growing food service concepts.”
The Aelia Duty Free brand, already in place at Queenstown Airport in New Zealand and Adelaide Airport in Australia, will next be rolled out to Gold Coast Airport, with the execution taking shape in the coming months, de Place said.
Reflecting on his four years as regional COO, de Place noted: “On top of our previous history in Asia Pacific, we have now really started to develop and invest. You need to be patient as it takes time to learn about the consumer and to understand what airports want. We have come a long way in that journey.
“Look at the many new businesses we operate today. When we began in China with the focus on Relay; now you see the fantastic environment we operate in at Shenzhen. That is a huge leap forward for us, as well as for the commercial environment there.
“And this is just the beginning, not only in China but also across the region, from south-east Asia to Australia and New Zealand. As a group we will build on the three core strands of our business. It’s an exciting period.”
Original Source: www.moodiereport.com