Lagardère crowns newest Lego and Discover London units at Luton Airport

By Luke Barras-hill |

Bricks to growth: L-R: Marion Engelhard, Managing Director, Lagardère Travel Retail UK and Ireland; Jonathan Rayner, CCO, LLA; and Rasmus Kaiholm Skov, Key Account Manager, Lego Travel Retail EMEA open the toy brick maker’s latest travel retail store.

London Luton Airport (LLA) and Lagardère Travel Retail have officially opened two new shops from Discover London and Lego.

TRBusiness was on location at LLA yesterday (7 March) for a ribbon-cutting to unveil the latest airside units (around 100sq m each).

The shops, which bolster the Paris-headquartered travel retailer’s ‘Travel Essentials’ business line, occupy a prominent position in the high-trafficked central departure lounge.

Lego began trading earlier this month and Discover London began welcoming shoppers in February.

LLA Chief Commercial Officer Jonathan Rayner said the new openings represent “the culmination of a retail strategy that has been going on for three years”, with the shops “beacons of light” within the upgraded departure lounge.

Inside Discover London, an extension of Lagardère’s popular gifting and souvenir concept made famous by locations from Singapore to Cambodia and Aberdeen, travellers will encounter multi-category goods and a curated assortment of local-themed keepsakes.

Gifts from Fortnum & Mason, Whittard’s of London, Stolenform, Brick Sixty Limited, Tinker Tailor and Little Miss London add a local twist.

“Premium gifting is a perfect heartland for the middle of our departure lounge,” commented Rayner.

Busy leasing period

Meanwhile, Lagardère Travel Retail’s fourth Lego monostore within its UK portfolio – following openings at the likes of London’s Gatwick and Stansted Airports in recent years – delivers an engaging experience for shoppers who can peruse a variety of Lego sets, including exclusive boxes.

Shoppers can scan Lego sets and preview them using augmented reality to experience how the 3D models would look once they have been built, and can also design their own Lego mini-figures.

“Our customers have been asking us for Lego for a long time, so we’re delighted they won the tender and have come in,” said Rayner. “You can see how popular the store is already.”

The Discover London and Lego shops sit adjacent to The Smithfield Bar & Kitchen and InMotion, enjoying prime exposure to the generous traffic flows in the airside departures lounge. Discover London’s offer includes craft beer, attractive jewellery and several exclusive partnerships with the likes of Tinker Tailor, Stolenform, Brick Sixty, Little Miss London, Fortnum & Mason and Whittard’s of London.

Marion Engelhard, Managing Director, Lagardère Travel Retail UK & Ireland, said: “We are extremely excited about this new opportunity at London Luton Airport and look forward to welcoming shoppers of all ages to this new store brimming with awesome products and fun features for the whole family: a store full of bright colours, cool models, surprises, engaged store personnel, selfie opportunities and interactive experiences.”

Annette Rosendahl, Head of Travel Retail Expansion at Lego, commented: “We are excited to open the fourth Lego airport store in the UK with our partner Lagardère Travel Retail and look forward to offering the Lego store experience in London Luton Airport.

“Our mission is to inspire and develop the Lego builders of tomorrow and this large Lego store invites all passengers in the airport to engage with our brand, spark creativity and imagination, and create fun and memorable experiences.”

LLA Chief Commercial Officer Jonathan Rayner (left) spoke to TRBusiness Editorial Director Luke Barras-Hill on camera following the duo of shop openings.

LLA has tendered 28 commercial units over the past three years – the majority resulting in lease renewals of existing tenants’ footprints, learns TRBusiness.

Rayner points to a “landmark moment” in LLA’s partnership with the travel retailer.

It follows a number of “bold, innovative and engaging shops and restaurant” openings at the airport last summer.

One notable retail example was the doubling of JD Sports’ presence to 250sq m in 2023.

LLA, which handled 16.2 million passengers last year, is operated by a consortium including majority shareholder and Spanish airports operator Aena and infrastructure investment manager InfraBridge.

While acting as the UK hub for low-cost carrier easyJet, the airport also accommodates airline customers such as Ryanair, Tui, FlyOne, Sun Express and Wizz Air.

Last month, Wizz Air carried a milestone 70 million passengers from LLA where the carrier services 50 return flights per day to 60 destinations in 28 countries.

More than 135,000 passengers are expected to travel through the airport’s terminal over the upcoming Mother’s Day weekend.

Stay close to TRBusiness for more reporting on the openings, plus video interviews with LLA, Lagardère Travel Retail and Lego.

READ MORE: Lagardère enters UK & Ireland airport F&B space with YO! launch at Luton

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