L’Oréal & Dufry launch first Lancôme Rose Agora store at Heathrow’s T5

By Faye Bartle |

Lancome new Rose Agora store concept at LHR T5

Left to right: Flavien de Paillerets, Priscilla Foucault and Delphine Poultney.

ON LOCATION: Lancôme has unveiled its new, rose-themed Rose Agora store concept in the main World Duty Free  store at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5, in a ‘worldwide first’ for the luxury beauty brand. 

TRBusiness attended the opening earlier this week to discover the new concept first-hand, and to speak with senior executives from the brand and the retailer about bringing to life Lancôme’s new retail identity.

“This project took more than a year of strong collaboration, with both Dufry and L’Oréal sharing the same ultimate goal of putting the customers at the centre of our shops,” said Floriana Bove, Dufry’s Senior Category Manager for Beauty in the UK.

“This translates into pioneering the best beauty-tech innovations in skincare and make-up.

“L’Oréal has done a splendid job in creating a place for Lancôme where its values of care, generosity, trust, and science merge for our beloved travellers.

“Working together on this project has, once again, proven the strength of the partnership between Dufry and L’Oréal.”

Taking a customer centric approach

The Rose Agora store is inspired by the Lancôme rose, which plays a key role in the heritage of the brand.

Lancôme’s original brand codes and signatures have been reinterpreted for the retail concept, with timeless materials, such polished grey onyx flooring and crafted gold accents exuding luxury. The use of crystal refraction and clever lighting design illuminates the space.

“This Lancôme store is welcoming, caring, and ultimately feminine, and will appeal to the many different nationalities passing through Terminal 5 every day,” said Priscilla Foucault, General Manager Lancôme Travel Retail Worldwide. “The Lancôme rose has now a home, in Heathrow.”

Lancome new Rose Agora store concept at LHR T5

Left: A snapshot of the make-up counter. Right: Priscilla Foucault, General Manager Lancôme Travel Retail Worldwide and Faye Bartle, Managing Editor, TRBusiness.

Foucault described to TRBusiness how premium fragrances is currently a “booming segment” in the channel.

“Make-up is also strongly bouncing back after these years of Covid,” she said.

She went on to highlight how skincare is playing a more prominent role in modern make-up routines, with consumers appreciating the power of prepping the skin before application.

Furthermore, adding skincare to make-up – such as a pump of serum into liquid foundation – is also becoming increasing popular among those seeking enhanced results, she revealed.

Spanning its fragrance, make-up and skincare pillars, the brand’s premium collections, such as Absolue skincare and Maison Lancôme fragrances, are an important ‘fourth’ axis of the brand that’s driving conversion, according to Foucault.

As such, Lancôme’s most premium collections are given striking showcases within the new store concept.

As well as discovering the new fragrance spaces and the skincare backwall, shoppers can interact with the ‘science and trust table’, which offers an in-depth ‘Youth Finder’ skin diagnosis.

There’s also a dedicated space for a make-up retouching (ideal for a glamorous refresh before take-off) and a ‘Shade Finder’ service that helps visitors to find their ideal foundation finish and shade match.

Both the technology driven ‘Youth Finder’ and ‘Shade Finder’ experiences take under five minutes.

Lancome new Rose Agora store concept at LHR T5

Lancôme’s new store concept in World Duty Free’s main store in Heathrow’s T5 represents a worldwide first for the brand. 

“Usually, consumers are eager to know more about their skin and their skincare needs so to know in five minutes makes them extremely happy,” said Foucault.

“And this is also true of make-up – to find the perfect shade of fluid foundation is quite difficult so having the perfect device to find for you the perfect match is really something that is working very well.”

Foucault underscored how the brand is “always working” to add new technologies and to “personalise” and “tailor” the experience for consumers.

A great example of this is the ‘L’Atelier Des Ailes’ high-profile promotion currently in place, allowing shoppers to customise a bottle of La Vie est Belle and add a sequinned ‘wing of happiness’ decoration to the bottle.

Turning a counter into an experience

Dufry provided further insight into the timeframe for the project, and the considerations in bringing it to fruition.

Lancome new Rose Agora store concept at LHR T5

Fragrances in travel retail EMEAI remains the “priority” for Lancôme, according to Flavien de Paillerets, General Manager TREMEAI L’Oréal Group.

“After L’Oréal submitted the design to us, it took us another few months of exchanges to improve the design further, perfecting the experience for customers, incorporating clear navigation to help identify the different product categories, ensuring we were catering for both the current passenger profile, but also allowing for what adjustments will be relevant when the larger volumes of Asian travellers come back, and also bringing flexibility to the area, so that the counters could be updated and brought to life with different focuses and highlights,” said Delphine Poultney, UK Head of Beauty at Dufry.

“When you have this level of open discussion between the brand and the retailer and keep the customer at the heart of the planning, this is when you manage to move the lines and create an experience rather than just a counter. It reflects the level of partnership that we have with the L’Oréal team.”

“The overriding goal was to take the Lancôme counter, which is at the forefront of our store, to another level in terms of customer experience and engagement, ensuring we had the profiles of all our customers in mind, but specifically our British and European passengers who shop differently and buy different product categories to the Asian passenger demographic.”

Lancome new Rose Agora store concept at LHR T5

A customer tries the Youth Finder skin analysis technology at the new store concept.

Flavien de Paillerets, General Manager TREMEAI L’Oréal Groupe in charge of Dufry pointed out how Lancôme is the Group’s “strongest three-axis brand”, and one that resonates with “all passengers in all zones”.

“Fragrances in travel retail EMEAI remains our priority with the support of our iconic fragrance La Vie est Belle and the launch of our all-stars campaign featuring all our Lancôme ambassadresses,” he said.

“With the skincare and makeup market acceleration, skincare and premium lines will become a key focus of the brand, asserting expertise and beauty tech on skincare, and pushing our authority and leadership on eyes for makeup.

More than 50 new shops to be refitted by end of 2024

Looking ahead, the new Lancôme Rose Agora store concept is set for roll-out, starting with selected ‘key strategic locations’ in Europe and Middle East.

“Every new Lancôme shop will be designed in this new identity. We target more than 50 shops refitted in the new look by the end of 2024,” said de Paillerets.

“Lancôme will benefit from the skincare market acceleration on which the brand is leading thanks to our premium products offer and our beauty tech expertise.”

He credits L’Oréal’s strength in the market to its ‘wide range of brands’ and ‘consumer centricity’.

“With the pandemic disruption of the past few years, our model has shown its full robustness, and the four divisions have fully played their roles as growth relays and compensators, depending on market developments,” said de Paillerets.

“Our four divisions are showing very strong growth, internationally as in travel retail, in Europe and worldwide. Preparing the launch of all our main brands, from all for divisions, is key in our roadmap with our commercial partners, especially in such a competitive market as the UK.”

Lancome new Rose Agora store concept at LHR T5

The wider L’Oréal and Dufry team involved with the project, celebrating the official launch.

For Dufry, the new store aligns perfectly with evolving consumer trends and behaviours being noted at the hub.

“In terms of general trends, we are seeing a strong level of interest in high-end, more exclusive fragrances, hence our focus on this to drive the fragrance category,” said Poultney.

“P&C is performing well and continues to be the prevalent category thanks to the new brands and segments we are introducing, the wealth of exclusive products, novelties and limited editions which strengthen the existing brands, and unique promotions that are continually being introduced.

“Natural and wellbeing products are also more in demand and consequently we are focused on developing the offer in this segment.”

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