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Last Friday I paid my first visit to the S4 satellite at Paris Charles de Gaulle Terminal E.
I had heard many positive comments about the facility but the reality was better. Much better.
Over the 11 years of The Moodie Report’s history, I have visited every continent, witnessing many terminal, store and restaurant openings along the way. I am asked time and again, particularly by analysts, investment banks and people outside the industry, which are my favourites.
There’s a new addition to that list and Friday’s visit provided it. When the facility was opened last year it was described as “a new vision for duty free and luxury in travel retail”. For once the reality (provided by Aelia in its joint venture with Aeroports de Paris and trading as Buy Paris Duty Free) lives up to the hype as the pictures below reveal.
I was there for the launch of Puig’s new male fragrance from Paco Rabanne called Invictus (‘unconquered’ in Latin), an impressive unveiling notable for an encouraging show of support from Aeroports de Paris and Aelia senior management, who turned out in force. When people talk ‘Trinity’ (as they did), such things matter.
The ‘core categories’ (what a thoroughly unromantic phrase to embrace some of the world’s greatest wines, spirits, fragrances & cosmetics) are presented with a mixture of panache, accessibility and flair that I have seldom seen rivalled in travel retail.
The sight lines are superb, the branding strong without being overwhelming and there are surprises and excitement aplenty. It’s an open, elegant and genuinely classy proposition, both in environment and offering.
The high-profile promotion areas (and executions) jump out at you as they should, enjoying great positions in a store that just begs to be explored thanks to the excellent visibility.
Take the stunning Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club Collection promotion (above), for example. It’s right near the entrance to the store, it’s immaculately executed and it adds a genuine travel-themed touch to the store. And I love the tag line ‘Exclusive to travellers’ so much more than the term ‘travel retail exclusive’, which I believe is not understood by most passengers.
And what about the brilliant display for Inter Parfums’ debut fragrance for Repetto (below)? Fabulous. I’d love to see the sales numbers after a launch as visible and dynamic as this.
It’s not just about ‘newness’ though. Favourites such as Chanel and Sisley (below) get classy treatment and I particularly liked the Champagne and wines area.
Tobacco is nicely done here too, albeit in a less restrictive environment than many airports have to contend with. The Vogue display (below) is paying off richly, I was informed. underlining the power of strong visual merchandising. I’ve noted similar success in other airports for cigarette houses such as Karelia that dare to be different. Again, I bet the numbers tell their own story for the BAT-owned brand.
Confectionery is done pretty well too, anchored by the fabulous Fauchon unit (above).
There’s plenty more to admire in 2E, including one of the nicest food & beverage outlets I have ever seen in an airport – Ladurée (below). The famed purveyor of luxury cakes and pastries and inventor of the double-decker macaroon, is showcased beautifully here. Caviar House & Prunier also, as usual, looks (and fulfils) the part. The central ‘Parisian Square’ allows passengers to relax in real comfort (no cheap seats here) while in full view of the commercial offer.
The satellite even enjoys its own museum (below), which features different exhibitions through the year. This is free to visitors, a bold and refreshing move which says you’ll ultimately make more money from passengers who are treated to a mix of services rather than an unrelenting high-pressure sell.
There’s luxury aplenty too, with big names ranging from Bvlgari to Burberry enjoying stand-alone stores as well as a generic though brand-led fashion offer from Buy Paris Duty Free. It’s a well thought-out offer that deserves to succeed, not just for its quality but for the respect it pays to the travelling shopper’s intelligence. For once an ‘E’ grade stands for excellent.