Lagardère urges agility in ‘high potential’ Africa market as openings continue

By Luke Barras-hill |

Lagardère Travel Retail’s decision to forge ahead with new market investments appears to be paying off, with positive progress reported across its Africa and South America operations this year.

In January, the company inaugurated its new Aelia Duty Free shop operations at Jorge-Chávez International Airport in Lima, Peru – as part of the profit-share joint venture with Lima Airport Partners (LAP) – and at Nouakchott-Oumtounsy International Airport in Mauritania, West Africa where Lagardère also runs its Kepar Café restaurant concept.

In an interview for the October Top 10 International Operators report, Dag Rasmussen, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Lagardère Travel Retail told, TRBusiness: “In Peru, our ground-breaking profit-sharing agreement with Lima Airport Partners (LAP) allows for direct and qualitative exchange, and we have seen good sales performance despite lower than expected spend per passenger.

“This is due to the implementation of more stringent anti-Covid measures in countries such as Brazil and Argentina, as well as Santiago, Chile. Business pick-up from April 2022 onwards heralded the beginning of a ‘strong rebound’, with current winter holiday traffic levels boosting an optimistic outlook.

Dag Rasmussen, Chairman & CEO, Lagardère Travel Retail.

Senegal openings ‘ongoing’

“In West Africa, openings across Senegal’s motorway and rail network are ongoing, with tailor-made foodservice concepts at regional airports a strong commercial proposition.

“We’ve done this in Mauritania and Gambia as well as Tanzania, and in under a year we have seen promising early results both for duty free and food service. It’s a continent where we see huge medium- to long-term potential, and where we need to be agile.”

As reported, Lagardère Travel retail posted revenues of €1,688 million/$1,772 million in the six months ending 30 June – up  +97.2% on a like-for-like basis (+103.2% reported).

Europe, Middle East and Africa (excluding France) delivered growth of +148.2% compared to the same period in 2021 (down 16.5% against H1 2019), buoyed by loosening travel and health restrictions and rallying regional and transatlantic traffic, particularly in Western Europe and Poland.

While activity in the Pacific remains encouraging, China’s enduring zero-Covid policy stance continues to impede the recovery in Chinese air passenger traffic volumes.

“We’re really up in Africa and the Middle East as well and while the Pacific is bouncing back, what’s missing now is long-haul flights with Asia, especially China,” added Rasmussen. “There is still a big question mark as to when and how this will rebound. In Asia, 50-60% of stores are open, with more in the Pacific, which is picking up extremely quickly. In terms of the global network, we are 90% open.”

For the full interview, read the TRBusiness Top 10 International Operators issue available as an e-zine, or in print from the press racks at the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference.

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