Fresh Relay concept shows Lagardère’s belief in ‘resilient’ travel essentials

By Luke Barras-hill |

New openings are planned in more than seven countries across several regions.

Lagardère Travel Retail says it wants its Relay travel convenience shops to be more ‘customer-centric’ and offer ‘greater in-store flexibility and agility’.

The comments come as the Paris-headquartered travel retailer today (9 November) unveiled a new generation concept and brand identity for the travel convenience chain.

“The investment is testament to the company’s commitment to the Travel Essentials segment; of the three business lines Lagardère Travel Retail operates, Travel Essentials is the one to demonstrate the greatest resilience, and the fastest recovery rate,” read a statement.

“This resilience relies on both its multi-channel nature (major footprint in rail, shopping centres as well as in airports) and a multi-category offer which has benefitted from other stores being closed during lockdowns, such as restaurants. The crisis has been an opportunity to reveal the truly essential nature of Travel Essentials stores.”

Lucio Rossetto, Chief Business Officer, Lagardère Travel Retail.


Shops utilising the new-look Relay concept have already rolled out and will continue into 2021.

New openings are already planned in more than seven countries across several regions, although opening plans are subject to change dependent on the Covid-19 situation.

Behind the move is a plan to further align the brand with passengers’ expectations while improving operational efficiency.

Relay has introduced a new graphic identity and store design for a smoother customer journey that heightens the idea of ‘sense of place’.

The design is aimed at promoting a ‘one-stop shop’ convenience concept catered to commuters or travellers on longer journeys.

Stores’ layouts, merchandising and product offerings can be adapted simply and flexibly, says the company.

With that in mind, the Relay concept will feature ‘new category universes’ to accent product assortments with distinctive design cues and merchandising for each category.

Accordingly, the concept places a strong emphasis on culture and content as a ‘central component of Relay’s DNA’.

The notable red Relay logo has been exaggerated with a grey banner to introduce partner brands.

The new Relay concept allows shops to adopt a flexible merchandising setup and layout, enabling categories to be switched according to changing customer needs.

Communication tools have also been blended into the concept to support promotional offers and introduce recommendations.

Meanwhile, digital tools such as store-front animations and in-store screens are aimed at lifting customer engagement.

As part of Lagardère Travel Retail’s commitments to CSR, which were unboxed in detail during the inaugural Travel Retail Sustainability Forum held during TRMarketplace, the Relay concept focuses on three important areas: providing a responsible offer, encouraging better consumption and introducing ‘localness’ into ranges.

In 2019, Travel Essentials represented €2.2 billion/$2.5 billion (41%) of Lagardère Travel Retail’s total sales.

New generation Relay stores have already opened at Madrid Atocha railway station, Nantes Atlantique Airport (pictured) and train station, Prague Airport and Berlin’s new Brandenburg Airport.

Lucio Rossetto, Chief Business Officer, Lagardère Travel Retail said: “Relay is a well-known brand to travellers throughout the world, and for many it’s where the travel really starts. To maintain this emotional connection between Relay and its customers and better keep up with their needs, we needed to evolve both the concept and the brand identity.

“With the new generation of Relay stores, we are further investing into a franchise and a segment we believe in. Under the most challenging circumstance, Relay has demonstrated its great resilience and more importantly has managed to remain an important stop-over in passengers’ journeys.”


Lagardère Travel Retail’s revenue slid by 66.1% on a like-for-like basis in the third quarter of 2020 to total €393m/$462m, according to results released last week.

In the nine months ending 30 September, like-for-like sales were down by 58.8% to €1,340m.

Tightened travel restrictions from the end of August due to the second wave of Covid-19 hit trading across all regions, except Mainland China.

Source: Lagardère Travel Retail. Click to enlarge.

Overall, airport points of sale where hit harder than other locations such as rail stations and downtown.

Revenue in Q3 for the EMEA region (excluding France) fell by 61.0%; North America sales dropped by 69.6%; and Asia Pacific revenue was down by 66.8%.

In the case of Asia Pacific, Australia and New Zealand retained border closures during the quarter, resulting in virtually zero passenger traffic in the countries.

However, the result was partly countered by a 35.6% growth in revenue in Mainland China, spurred by increasing domestic travel, new store openings and good online and social media sales.


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