Lagardère joins forces with LLA to launch Lego, Discover London stores

By Benedict Evans |

LLA Lego Store

The custom pilot sculpture at LLA is comprised of 34,320 bricks and weighs 76kg.

Lagardère Travel Retail (Lagardère) has officially opened a Lego store at London Luton Airport (LLA) as it continues to expand its brand partnership with the toy manufacturer.

The store features the first airport installation of Lego’s build-a-mini-figure activation, alongside aviation-specific sets such as the Concorde.

“We’re very proud,” says Liam Grundy, Commercial & Business Development Director at Lagardère, “It’s rare that open tenders which cater to both gifting and toys are announced in an airport like Luton, so we’re very glad we’ve been able to place Lego here.”

Grundy says the Lego store, which opened on 1 March, is perfectly positioned to capture the attention of passing families, as well as ‘kidults’, a portmanteau used to describe an adult whose media consumption sways towards that of younger generations.

LLA Lego Store

The build-a-mini-figure activation has not been installed in any of Lego’s other airport stores.

Negotiations to bring the Lego store to Luton kicked into gear last July after Lagardère submitted a proposal for a five year, £8.8m tender in April 2023 for retail concession fashion, gifting, and toys units 13A and 13B.

Lagardère won the tender in July 2023, with the previous stores closing in January 2024.

Grundy also notes LLA was one of several airports on Lego’s ‘desire list’ and had been for some time; Lagardere has been in partnership with Lego for the last eight years and has first right of refusal on Lego stores, a right Grundy noted Lagardère were unlikely to ever invoke.

Speaking to TRBusiness at the official ribbon-cutting ceremony, LLA Chief Commercial Officer Jonathan Rayner says its opening marks: “the culmination of a retail strategy that has been going on for three years.”

LLA Discover London

Panizza revealed in the couple months since it began trading at LLA, roughly 40% of Discover London’s sales have been confectionery, with gifting purchases accounting for upwards of 20%.

The 100sqm store sits adjacent to Discover London (also 100sqm), Lagardere’s own proprietary store and another recent addition to its Luton lineup; the store has been trading for a little over two months and features a host of local products ranging from London Brick Soap and Whittard to Luton FC apparel.

“In terms of price point, Discover is really designed to appeal to a broad range of travellers,” says Margherita Panizza, Buyer Spirits and Gifting at Lagardère, adding: “We’re not just targeting tourists, unlike Heathrow and other major airports, the passenger demographic at Luton leans more towards families than business travellers.”

LLA Discover London

Lagardère says its relationship with brands featured in Discover London is aided by its expert knowledge of the unique storage challenges present at airports.

Panizza points to the smaller, more bespoke orders it places with companies like Brick Sixty, Luton FC and Warner’s Gin as providing a good balance of premium gifting options, often aimed at passengers looking to buy for friends and family.

Laura Rubino, Buying Manager at Lagardère, added: “There isn’t as much new product development (NPD), so our focus for Discover London has been searching for the right themes to complement customer profiles.”

These store openings come at a time of large-scale regeneration across retail, F&B, and duty free at LLA.

Within sight of the Lego and Discover London stores in the departures lounge, construction is well underway on a new mezzanine floor space, which will feature a 500-cover, two-story restaurant.

LLA Lego Store

Lagardere runs its own click and collect service for both its Lego and Discover London stores, which allows passengers to travel unencumbered before returning to collect purchased goods.

This falls within the scope of a £30m investment announced in September of last year – itself part of an even larger £160m commitment made back in 2019 – to transform the airport.

LLA partnered with architectural, interior and masterplanning design practice firm 3DReid to establish a cohesive interior design strategy, enhancing the wayfinding, branding, and passenger experience.

“They [LLA] have been very proactive in asking retailers with a stake in the airport for their thoughts and feedback on the ongoing works, and the overall design of its retail spaces,” says Grundy.

READ MORE: Lagardère crowns newest Lego and Discover London units at Luton Airport

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