Dag Rasmussen, Chairman & CEO of Lagardère Travel Retail, remains cautiously optimistic about the year ahead and suggests it may even be some time before Asian travellers resume their international travels in earnest. However, he firmly believes the company is best placed to capitalise on several growth levers.
Rasmussen shared his views in the TRBusiness Global Industry Survey 2023*, including his summary of the previous year’s trading environment.
“The rebound has been extremely strong, with many geographies now catching up or even exceeding 2019 levels in terms of sales or passenger traffic,” said Rasmussen.
“The resilience of the industry is confirmed and travel retail stands proudly as the most experiential of all retail channels.
“We have had to cope with headwinds, such as global supply issues or inflation, yet the overall picture we can draw is a very positive one.
“It  has been a fantastic year for Lagardère Travel Retail and we are very proud of what our teams have accomplished.”
Key achievements highlighted by Rasmussen include successfully commencing new operations in South America, as well as the”continued the development of our network in all other regions” and winning the Paris tender “to continue our relationship with Paris airports under the new Extime Duty Free JV for another decade”.
Read on for Rasmussen’s answers to our top questions…
Question: What are your expectations for your business in travel retail in 2023 and what are the major challenges you anticipate?
Answer from Rasmussen: The outlook for travel retail in 2023 is positive, but with so much global economic uncertainty, our optimism remains cautious. We can now confidently say that the worst of the sanitary crisis is behind us and we will continue to witness steady improvements in international traffic flows.
We believe the challenges we experienced in 2022 will continue to be managed over next year, the most important one being the disruption in global supply chains, and a very uncertain economic environment. But we are very confident that we can build on lessons from 2022 and our very strong partnerships, to efficiently manage these over the next year.
“We have the right foundations and strategic focus to generate sustainable and profitable growth to further support our position as a leading global travel retailer in a very dynamic market.” Dag Rasmussen, Chairman & CEO, Lagardère Travel Retail
Our 2023 focus will be on creating unique holistic experiences for travellers and continue to enhance the channel’s attractiveness through a mix of innovation and local authenticity. We will also continue our relentless efforts to create more responsible travel experiences, through our CSR roadmap: PEPS.
Finally, we will continue the steady development of our network of operations and the integration of recent acquisitions. We have the right foundations and strategic focus to generate sustainable and profitable growth to further support our position as a leading global travel retailer in a very dynamic market.
How has the shift in passenger demographics as a result of the pandemic/travel restrictions affected your product portfolio and growth plans?
It may be some time before we see Asian travellers resuming their international travels and we have had to adapt to this, by shifting some elements in our offer. For example, by further developing the local authenticity many passengers are looking for.
We are also seeing more young travellers and want to develop an offer that specifically meets their expectations.
We believe our ongoing focus on experiential and conscious retail experiences is a strong factor of success with this cohort.
Local authenticity is also a strong revenue driver for us to push over the coming years and we are well positioned to deliver this through our very locally empowered teams.
I believe that despite the great strides of progress we have made towards creating a more inclusive and diverse workplace, there is still much to be done.
*The Global Industry Survey was conducted during November 2022 up until the second week of January 2023. Some of the views expressed are representative of individuals rather than their entire organisations. Some of the comments were also shared prior to China’s announced easing of travel restrictions from 8 January.