Aer Rianta International (ARI) unveiled today (25 October) its overhauled beauty hall and confectionery department at Dublin International Airport Terminal 2 [scroll below for a video].
Shoppers to the 944sq m The Loop Duty Free Beauty Hall are able to peruse more than 90 brands, including 30 new to skincare, fragrance, makeup and haircare.
The sleek, contemporary and open walkthrough layout of the beauty hall, which has doubled in size since work began in 2018, is aimed at providing a more upmarket and comfortable retail experience for the thousands of passengers passing through the airport.
DEMARCATED SPECIALITY AREAS
For the first time, ARI has implemented designated speciality areas to display and trial niche products as it looks to grow its brand portfolio.
Informed by essential beauty trends, the shop offers travellers a number of exclusive and luxury labels and experiences.
These include Ireland’s first Maison Christian Dior boutique plus NARS, Le Labo and Byredo. Elsewhere, Living Proof and Hourglass Cosmetics are stocked in a haircare innovators section.
In the Estée Lauder stable, Tom Ford makeup adds to the existing fragrance lines stocked, while Jo Malone has taken an extended space. Other brands include the beauty giant’s eponymous label, Glam Glow, Bobbi Brown, MAC Cosmetics, Michael Kors, Origins, La Mer, Clinique and Too Faced.
Beauty giants such as L’Oréal and Coty have a number of brands represented, while the LVMH group is another with a sizeable presence, listing Dior, Guerlain, Givenchy and Acqua di Parma. These complement numerous other skus from a range of leading companies.
The varied combination offers passengers a well-rounded offer across the price ladder, from value ranges to mid-priced propositions and more premium goods.
ARI Global Head of Beauty Deirdre Devaney explains that while makeup and fragrances drive the higher share of sales, The Loop Duty Free has focused on curating an appealing niche skincare assortment.
Pharmacy-style brands of the likes of Murad, Pestle & Mortar, Perricone MD, Ren and Erborian are tilted towards a younger demographic, while at the same time providing a point of difference from the more mass market, luxury products in Terminal 1.
“It’s very important that as retailers we own the look and feel of the environment and allow the brands to express their identities.”
The overall footprint embraces digital technology, with try-on tools and shade-matching technology available at makeup counters.
In addition, Clarins, La Mer and Clinique offer skincare consultations and visitors can benefit from a fragrance personalisation service at Le Labo and engraving service at Estée Lauder and MAC Cosmetics.
Lucky travellers in Terminal 2 were today treated to goody bags, treats and exclusive beauty experiences in recognition of the beauty hall’s official opening.
MAC artists provided live body painting demonstrations, Jo Malone hosted a calligraphy event, and Guerlain is offering a miniature ‘Kiss Kiss’ lipstick as a gift with purchase on two Guerlain products (one product to be skincare) and an exclusive Mon Guerlain charm for each customer.
Throughout October, passengers can also take advantage of a Signature Lip Service by Chanel; a free travel-size ‘Caution Mascara’ by Hourglass Cosmetics with every €60/$67 spent; and a complimentary skincare consultation from La Mer with every transaction.
Alongside a heightened focus on personalisation, Devaney says the wider strategic piece for ARI revolves around bringing more digital and technology in store.
Digital screens are being progressively rolled out, flanking pillars and bulkheads to draw customers’ sightlines as they enter the store.
This year, ARI introduced it new ecommerce platform, with the launchpad in its home market Ireland.
Click-and-collect capabilities are active instore, although home delivery is a service that is not yet available.
LUXURY AND ARTISAN
The Loop Duty Free at Dublin Terminal 1 gained worldwide attention for its Candy Cloud concept a number of years ago and Terminal 2’s confectionery area has now been given a makeover.
ARI says it has placed a special focus on championing luxury and artisan chocolates from home and abroad, with a new Chocolatier Collection paying homage to Irish chocolatiers such as Butlers, Lír, Lily O’Briens, The Chocolate Garden and Skellig’s Chocolate.
These join popular favourites such as Guylian, Leonidas, Kinder and Toblerone.
Replacing a previous confectionery zone lacking ‘definition’, according to ARI, the footprint has completely changed, with a more open 182sq m playground listing.
Reacting to the walkthrough opening, Ray Hernan, CEO, ARI told TRBusiness: “Dublin always is going to be a shop window for us; this is now our most modern store layout and reflects all the changes that have evolved with the brands in terms of interaction, technology and engagement.
“That is something we really want to embrace. Technology is one thing but it is the capacity to maximise the engagement through our staff because our team here are superb and well trained across all our estate. This is a point of difference for us in terms of the quality of service.
“The breadth of brands we have here now really reflects the stature of ARI in the industry. To have 90 brands and 30 completely new to Dublin is a testament to where we are now recognised in the pecking order of beauty and beauty halls worldwide.
“This walkthrough store is the next step; the challenge for all travel retail operators is maximising conversion and penetration and increasing average spend. This is new benchmark for where we want to be moving forward.”
Work on the new 944sq m beauty store formed part of two phases, the first of which finished in March this year and the second in September.
Meanwhile, a 383sq m standalone liquor store located opposite to the new walkthrough opened in August last year as part of a phase 1 refurbishment over a two-year period. Similar to beauty, the liquor footprint has doubled in size.
The store stocks a plentiful supply of alcoholic beverages, including roughly 450 whiskies and 100 gins.
Prior to the reconfiguration of the beauty hall and confectionery zone, passengers were greeted by a commercial area situated on the left hand side once they passed through security, with the beauty category anchored on a walkway to the left followed by confectionery and liquor zones. Adjacent to these were other concessions, including fashion and souvenirs.
Fashion concessions such as Gemini, Coach, Sunglass Hut and Hugo Boss are located opposite to the liquor outlet. All these have opened in the last nine months or so.
A Design & Crafts Council of Ireland shop tailored towards Irish gifting with items such as ceramics and candles from a number of retail brands is due to round off the fashion offer in November.
In Terminal 2, 38% of passenger traffic is long-haul transatlantic through carriers including Etihad and Emirates, with Aer Lingus also boasting a big operation.
As such, the merchandise offer is designed to reflect this, with The Loop Duty Free’s transformation the first in earnest since the terminal first opened its doors in 2011.
In a nod towards the perpetual clamour of companies in travel retail doing more to combat their own impacts on the environment – TRBusiness is at the forefront of this revolution with the launch of the Travel Retail Sustainability Forum Manifesto and inaugural Travel Retail Sustainability Forum to be held next year – ARI says it is paying close attention to listing brands with an environmentally conscious ethic.
Leonidas for example sources cocoa from its own cocoa plantation and provides free education and healthcare to workers and their families.
Meanwhile, Guylian is backing ‘Project Seahorse’, an initiative that seeks to protect seahorse habitats and other marine life globally.
In support of its commitment to sustainable operations, ARI and partner Dublin Airports Authority (daa) are tendering for a new shopping bags vendor.
Responses to this are due in January 2020 ahead of the new contract commencing by the middle of next year, TRBusiness understands.
Enquiring about the travel retailer’s plans to reduce single-use plastic wastage, it mentions a plan to replace its single-use plastic water bottles with high-grade PET (polyethylene terephthalate), multi-use or plant-based alternatives by the end of 2020,
Hydration stations are also cropping up inside the terminal to help offset single-use plastic wastage.
This drive is being given added impetus through daa, which has its own group sustainability team assessing ways of recycling plastic bottles.
“We want to take a strong lead on this; a key part in determining what we want to do moving forward is with two eyes fully focused on the sustainability agenda,” commented Anthony Kenny, Chief Commercial Officer and Deputy CEO, ARI. “You will see us phasing out use of plastic, both in terms of bags and bottles of water.”
NEW BENCHMARKS OF EXCELLENCE
In planning the redevelopment of the new spaces, ARI says it has placed a particular onus on studying wider consumer behaviour trends.
Paul Neeson, Retail Director for Ireland told TRBusiness: “I’ve always been very strongly of the believe that in travel retail you should aim to be better than the domestic market; while travel retail is super in a lot of airports, you can often find better representations downtown.
“We set ourselves a vision to beat Arnotts and Brown Thomas – part of the Selfridges Group and world leaders in retail. We have a changing demographic in Dublin, with more 50+ year-old passengers and a growth in 18-35 year-olds and obviously those two markets are very different. We’ve looked to focus on the premium brands as spends are very strong at that level, and millennials new to the market.
“Maison Christian Dior, Pestle & Mortar, Too Faced… these are brands we have never been able to retail at all. Now we have a much better mix and doubling the space allows us to play with a lot more new brands as well.”
Neeson himself was appointed ARI Retail Director for Ireland earlier this year having spent around three years in global operations.
“One of the things I love about airports and particularly in Dublin is you can see something through from start to finish, whereas there is always another day in buying, whatever deal you do,” he continued. “I learned a lot but what I love about retail is developing new concepts. It helps when you can work with your airport truly hand in glove.
“When we opened Terminal 2 at the end of 2011, Ireland was still very much in recession and there were people saying we didn’t need a second terminal. We’ve seen over the last number of years a significant growth in traffic, but that breeds complacency. We need to develop our airport revenues much harder than ever before with the airport looking to move towards 50 million passengers.
“The original aspiration for Terminal 2 when it opened was to get 31 million passengers and we’ve far exceeded that already. It won’t be long before we get there [50 million pax], at the rate of growth over the past few years we could see that happening in 10 years.”
Hernan added: “After two years of extensive works and significant investment, we are delighted to showcase one of the best examples of travel retail globally. Our primary objective was to create a compelling, immersive and unique brand experience for T2 passengers before they embark on their onward journey.
“This new beauty hall will surpass any in this country. It reflects much more of a department store feel […], there are so many more exclusives here and I think it is a testament to ARI’s reputation and relationship with global brands.”