As the pictures confirm, the American beauty powerhouse’s brands remain in big demand and I suspect that CNY 2024 has contributed very significantly to honouring CEO Fabrizio Freda’s pledge to return to ‘normalised’ stock levels in the very near future.
The production dramatically reveals a three-dimensional A380 plane formed from 1,750 drones – yes, you read that right, 1,750 – on the North Runway to celebrate the airport’s rebranding.
Amid all the celebrations on Sunday evening, there was a deeply poignant moment as a giant image of Khun Vichai appeared on the screen after the happy couple made their entrance into the giant hall and onto the stage.
What a great occasion it was. One that perhaps marked Lotte Duty Free’s true coming of age as a world-class airport retailer outside its native land.
“Could we take a photo Monsieur Arnault?” “Sure.” We couldn’t believe our luck. The battle for control of LVMH was raging but there could only be one winner. And we had the shot.
The sublimely talented Dubai Duty Free Nightingales asked me to join them for a photo. Fortunately, very fortunately, for all airport passsengers they did not ask me to join in the performance.
Wayne Barnes reaches into his pocket and pulls out a red card, which he flashes in front of Kane Williamson. “You led that protest with your head. No attempt to lower your voice. There’s a high degree of danger and there’s no mitigation. Off you go Sam!”
After such events I feel as if I’ve been put through a mental wringer, the psychological equivalent of being run over by the Springboks forward pack, the unrelenting concentration required meaning that relief rather than exhilaration is the dominant emotion afterwards.
It looked as though I might have to honour my pledge to retire, become ‘free of duty at last’ and to rename our title after my Irish business partner Dermot Davitt.
My Interim Bureau over the next few days is a very different place from the dazzle of Cannes but on a personal level offers incalculable riches that a swanky city on the French Riviera can never match.
We are on location for a sporting weekend like few others in the company of Qatar Airways and Qatar Duty Free.
Our schedules are jam-packed throughout the week and thanks to that and the fact that news from the rest of the world will continue to pour in over coming days, we really will live up to our moniker of ‘the website that never sleeps’.
I’m up, up and away again on one of those aircraft, on a 16-hour, 8,045 mile flight to New York, the first leg of a two-week journey that will in six days hence see me in Cannes for the TFWA World Exhibition.