Lagardère Travel Retail reports record 2018 fashion growth of 60% in China

By Andrew Pentol |


Bulgari is growing for Lagardère thanks to the development of lines which have become iconic.

Lagardère Travel Retail has reported a +6% rise in fashion sales last year with the category enjoying record growth of 60% in China following the opening of 26 new shops.

The retailer, which says it is the strongest international fashion player in duty paid airports, is on track to achieve double-digit growth in 2019.

As far as China is concerned, Lagardère Travel Retail will be eagerly anticipating the expected opening of the new Beijing Daxing Airport on 30 September.

Last year, the retailer secured the key fashion contract at the airport covering 1,100sq m and has promised to bring together a line-up of luxury fashion & accessory brands designed to meet a broad range of customer preferences and passenger needs.


Fashion is Lagardère’s second most prominent category behind perfumes and cosmetics with 20% market share and has strong growth potential, according to Nathalie Santonja, Executive Vice President, Fashion, Lagardère Travel Retail, who describes the segment as a key asset.

She told TRBusiness: “Fashion requires a specific and dedicated organisation to be successful and to be able to adapt to the specificities of the category (seasonal buying, stock management, targeted selection and brand portfolio management etc).

“This is why Lagardère Travel Retail underwent a full transformation of our organisation two years ago, with the creation of an expert fashion team gathering buying, procurement, supply and marketing.”

With handbags still leading the category worldwide, Lagardère is continuing to introduce brands, particularly in the luxury arena.

Elsewhere, shoes are continuing to grow and expected reach 5% to 15% of sales depending on the brands. But in the luggage category, the operator is experiencing an overall decline, with the exception of Rimowa.

Catherine Laborie, Product Management Director, Lagardère Travel Retail told TRBusiness: “In terms of overall fashion trends, one thing we find interesting is the trend for ‘Airport Style’ products.


Lagardère Travel Retail is continuing to introduce fashion brands in the luxury category in particular.

“This is a mix between casual/comfortable clothes and high-end accessories such as luxury clutch bags. The trend is notably visible through influencers’ posts on social media, who showcase their looks when travelling.

“It has become a strong trend which is also duplicated on the high-street in China for instance.”

In the luxury segment, Gucci continues to perform well as it does on local markets. “This brand dared to differentiate itself in its collection supported by strong and innovative communication which appeals to millennials,” Laborie remarked.

Hermès remains a major player and still pursues double-digit growth, while Saint Laurent is one of the fastest growing brands, with its many colour and leather variations and optimal positioning within the luxury market. She added: “Another luxury brand worth mentioning is Bulgari, which is showing growth thanks to the development of lines which have become iconic.

“These include BZEro1 and Diva in Jewellery, Octo in watches and Serpenti in jewellery, leathergoods and watches.”


The retailer is experiencing significant growth from brands with strong sportswear lines such as Lacoste which was re-launched four years ago.


In the mid to premium brand segment, Lagardère is experiencing growth from labels with strong sportswear lines. An example is Lacoste, which was re-launched four years ago with a strong communication campaign and big investment in the sneakers sector.

Nathalie-Santonja-LagardereOutlining the company’s vision for the category, Santonja (left) believes fashion will continue growing in DF&TR as it one of the main expectations for travellers, especially the younger generation. She said: “Travel retail fashion has reached a first level of maturity with the arrival of the main luxury brands in almost all airport platforms.

“We are now entering a second phase where we need to refresh the luxury offer to keep it exciting and on trend and develop the mid to premium ranges, which is a different model.”

She concluded: “We will continue introducing new brands and new concepts to stay relevant to our evolving customer base,” she concluded.

See the July issue of TRBusiness for the full interviews with Nathalie Santonja, Executive Vice President, Fashion, Lagardère Travel Retail and Catherine Laborie, Product Management Director, Lagardère Travel Retail. 

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