Dufry has partnered with L’Oréal to launch the first permanent counter for Valentino make-up in travel retail in Europe at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5.
The bold and eye-catching counter, which has been approximately 18 months in the planning, was revealed to members of the travel retail press today, with TRBusiness in attendance.
Located in World Duty Free’s (WDF) main store, the counter brings the brand’s mantra of ‘Colour, Cool, Couture’ to life with its curated selection of make-up, fragrances and rich customer experiences on offer, including the virtual try-on tool and flash make-up services.
A second permanent counter will follow in late April at the WDF store in Heathrow’s Terminal 3.
Following this, the concept is set to roll out to wider Europe, starting with leading fashion hubs, Paris and Rome, later this year (in H2).
Heathrow’s T5 was selected as the launchpad for the brand in travel retail on the continent due to the diverse mixture of nationalities that pass through the international hub.
This, says, Antny Rankin, Valentino General Manager for TR EMEAI, perfectly reflects the consumer base for Valentino make-up, which he describes as “the most exclusive inclusive couture brand in the industry”.
“In terms of reinvigorating the make-up category, Heathrow is the perfect place to be,” he said.
“Approximately 40% of all traffic at Heathrow comes through T5 – that’s a variety of customers and passengers that blend well with the boldness, creativity and inclusiveness of the brand.”
Capitalising on make-up’s big bounce back
Rankin points to the strength in lips and eyes as key factors driving the resurgence of the make-up category in travel retail.
“It’s something that comes from both the couture category and the artistry category,” he said.
“The creativity of Valentino straddles a bit of that divide. It’s definitely a couture brand but it’s bold, vibrant colours really speak to a diversity of make-up customers and that’s what people coming into different stores to rediscover the make-up category are looking for.”
The phasing out of face masks as the world continues to emerge from the pandemic has, of course, helped to trigger the rediscovery of the category.
Rankin reports that the performance of make-up is growing versus previous years, however, figures are “still down versus 2017-2019”.
“I think when you look at make-up right now and, at Heathrow in particular, it’s 18% of the overall weight of the business,” he explained. “Globally speaking, for us in travel retail, it’s still hovering below the weight of business it had previously, at around 12-13%.”
Physical spaces, such as the T5 counter, are playing a vital role in attracting consumers.
“There is a connection with the customer that you get from make-up that we couldn’t have in the past few years. And that connection comes through services, through interaction and the personality of the brand coming out,” he said.
“It’s something we can now rediscover with the brand. So I think this is really where the bounce back is coming from.”
As visitors to the counter will discover, a number of Valentino make-up products are refillable, such as the lipsticks and the famous Go-Clutch.
“It is super important to us as a new brand in make-up to be able to propose this to consumers,” said Guillaume Ducout, Valentino General Manager for TR WW.
“Especially for the younger generations, we know that at some point they may stop buying brands that are not committed to and engaged with the environment.”
“Also, when you invest in the quality of your products you want to people to keep them and enjoy them so you want to make them refillable from that respect,” added Rankin. “This is on top of the sustainability aspect, which is top of mind for a generation of consumers.”
Raising the profile of World Duty Free’s beauty offer
The Valentino make-up launch also serves to elevate WDF’s beauty offer in its Heathrow T5 and T3 stores by making an entirely new make-up range from a leading fashion house available to its travelling consumers.
“The introduction of the range here in T5 today will be closely followed by its introduction in our store in Terminal 3,” confirmed Delphine Poultney, UK Head of Beauty at Dufry.
“This really elevates and raises the profile of our beauty offer in these stores, as it enables us to make an entirely new and very exclusive make-up range from a leading fashion house available to our customers.
“At Dufry, we work very hard to ensure that we deliver newness, exclusivity and the best travel experience to our customers and this launch helps us tick all those boxes.”
The space has been utilised to its full potential with Valentino and Prada both featured, offering a fantastic showcase for make-up, while still securing the retailer’s business on fragrances.
Looking at consumer behaviour when shopping the beauty category, and how can retailers and brands work together to deliver memorable shopping experiences, Poultney shares the following insight: “In terms of general trends, we are seeing a strong level in interest in luxury and higher price point lines,” she revealed.
“The perfumes and cosmetics (P&C) category is performing well and continues to be the prevalent category thanks to the wealth of exclusive products, novelties, limited editions and unique promotions that are continually being introduced.”
“Within the P&C category, this focus on innovation plays an important part in terms of driving sales and evolving experiences,” she continued. “This is why we are so delighted to be able to now offer our customers the new Valentino make-up range.
“Bricks and mortar stores have a critical role to play in creating the best experiences for customers as they allow for the personal engagement and we have kept this in mind whilst renovating our Terminal 5 store.
“Each of the brands we offer has brought their best concepts and in this context, L’Oreal was one of the most collaborative in terms of working with us to ensure the spaces were engaging, adaptable and provided experiences.
“Innovation and customer engagement helps us drive penetration and conversion in the store, whilst events and experience – such as makeovers, skin services, engraving, in-store events, etc – all help in creating the buzz.”
As Rankin, summarises: “Valentino as a luxury beauty brand is about impact, energy and connection with its consumers. This bold new expression in Terminal 5 brings all of that to life. A big bravo to all the teams who delivered this project. We could not be more excited for passengers to experience this new face of the brand in travel retail.”