Showing the Cannes-do spirit

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

“No blog for a fortnight? Are you ok?” 

The enquiry from a faithful reader this morning reminded me of how scarily busy the past couple of weeks have been, the first at a frenetic but marvellously enjoyable TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes; the second simply trying to clear the decks after what may rank as the busiest period in the 20 years I have been running The Moodie Davitt Report.

{We were very honoured by the video and written tributes we received to mark our 20th anniverary publication. Click on the YouTube icon above to watch the video and the image below to read our commemorative ezine.}

I may be tired but I am ok, the only risk to my health being injury from over-prodding of my nostrils during a still extensive COVID-testing procedure over the first seven days post my return to Hong Kong from Cannes. The new protocol involves seven daily self-administered rapid antigen tests and three external PCR tests.

It may mean I smell a RAT for a whole week, which is time-consuming with all the associated paperwork but a distinct improvement on the various hotel quarantine requirements that had previously been the norm.

To show how busy I have been, this Blog actually began en route via Emirates 384 from Dubai (ex Nice Côte d’Azur Airport) to Bangkok for a short stop at Suvarnabhumi Airport before I headed home to Hong Kong.

Being back in Cannes at the TFWA World Exhibition for the first time in three years was on the one hand like a step back into the past, on the other a reminder of how much had changed in those tempestuous 36 months.

There was the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès packed with exhibitors and visitors once more; and the familiar frenetic rush from meeting to meeting topped and tailed with breakfast engagements and evening cocktails and dinners.

There was the chance to catch up with – and share an Interim Bureau with – my business partner Dermot Davitt for the first time in a ridiculous two years and seven months. I met members of my team for the first or second time and reacquainted myself with others, having not seen them since this very show in 2019.

There was even a riotous return on the final night to Le Marais, and although my traditional dining companion Rakhita Jayawardena was missing, my own Moodie Davitt teammates more than made up for it. It would count as an unforgettable night if only I could remember much of it. So many moments. Here are some of them.

A PIONEER’S BIRTHDAY

That great pioneer of duty free in the Philippines, Jose Maria ‘Chim’ N. Esteban III, celebrated his 66th birthday in style with friends on the Sunday evening. I am honoured to be counted in that category.

Question: What does this calculation represent?
Answer: The collective age of these travel retail industry veterans. Left to right are Martin Moodie, Sunil Tuli, Chim Esteban, Olivier Benemou, Antares Cheng and Eric Lauzat
Can it almost be three years since I saw my long-time Moodie Davitt teammates Dermot Davitt, Irene Revilla (second from right), and Sarah Genest? This pandemic has a lot to answer for. At least I had seen Hannah Tan-Gillies (below) at Hamad International Airport recently. 

A quiet closing night (not) with members of the best media team in the business. Clockwise from left are Mark Lane, our new Editor-in-Chief Jenny Eagle, Hannah Tan-Gillies, Martin Moodie (with a guest appearance from Rakhita Jayawardena via my phone), Colleen Morgan and Dermot Davitt
As the famous Barry McGuire protest anthem of the 1960s (almost) put it, ‘But you tell meOver and over and over again, my friendHow you don’t believeWe’re on the Jean-Yves of destruction’
The Jean-Yves in this case being the irrepressible proprietor of Le Marais, armed and dangerous with another bottle of excellent Paul Jaboulet Aine Crozes-Hermitage blanc
Great to see my long-term Korean friend Jin-Mo Kim, such an influential figure in the Republic’s duty free development through a stellar career with SK Networks, Paradise Duty Free (now Shinsegae Duty Free) and Bluebell. Jin-Mo now has his own firm, AKIM Co, operating out of Seoul and Malaysia and specialising in niche fragrances. If you need a go-to man in his markets, I can think of no-one better.
How’s this for a quality quartet of brands? Champagne Piaff (recently acquired by Loch Lomond Group), Kaviari, Valrhona and Gérard Bertrand. Outstanding Champagne, caviar, super-premium chocolate and wines from the south of France. A gourmet delight.
This ranked as perhaps my fondest meeting of the week, a catch-up with Catherine Bonelli, Managing Director – Global Travel at UK drinks company Loch Lomond Group during the Gourmet Cocktail Party. Catherine is a very special person who has had a rough time of it lately and who deserves every success and joy that will surely come her way.
What a marvellous scene as night falls in Cannes
Move over Édith Piaf, here comes Catherine Piaff
I was honoured to be asked to chair a pre-bid presentation of Spanish airport authority AENA’s forthcoming blockbuster duty free retail tender. It ranks as the world’s biggest airport retail bid – covering 26 airports and 55,000sq m of commercial space. It’s a story we will be covering closely in coming months.
AENA Director General of Commercial and Real Estate Maria José Cuenda told the meeting, “This is an exciting project to AENA because it is the biggest duty free tender in the world. In terms of scale, it is more than €18 billion. This is a unique opportunity that comes along only once every ten years or more.”

Farewell to a friend: TFWA Managing Director John Rimmer (above) kindly organised a tribute to Alec Smith (below), Editor of Global Drinks Intel, who sadly passed away last month. It was lovely to see such a large late night turn-out at Morrison’s Bar on the Tuesday night to honour this gentle giant of a man.

Face to face interviews are so much better than the Zoom variety and I was delighted to discover more about tobacco giant BAT’s travel retail strategy (and soaring success with reduced risk products). Pictured are (left to right) Greater China Cluster & Global Travel Retail General Manager Lars Kai; Head of Brand Activation- Global Travel Retail Nicki Sheridan; and Sales Director – Global Travel Retail Tony Clayton. Look out for my interview in coming days.
Room with a view: After a visit to the Camus stand, I was invited to the family-owned Cognac house’s suite by Shanghai-based Anna Kim, who runs global brand activation, to discover more about the new Camus 621sq m boutique – its largest-ever – at the spectacular China Duty Free Group-run Haikou International Duty Free Complex. The complex and the boutique open in Hainan province on 28 October. Watch this (very big) space for our on location report and click here for our exclusive preview.
The Camus boutique will offer an immersive experience into the artisanship and allure of great Cognac
Diageo Global Travel underlined its optimism for the future of post-pandemic travel retail after an eye-catching return to TFWA World Exhibition. The drinks giant hosted a multi-themed, highly engaging series of panel discussion series themed ‘The Sunset Sessions’ in a stunning beach location. Dermot Davitt and I were honoured to moderate the three sessions between us.
I facilitated an excellent session on diversity and inclusion featuring three outstandingly insightful panellists. Pictured with me from left are Sarah Branquinho of Women in Travel Retail and Dufry Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer; Diageo Global Scotch Director John Williams; and Flemingo Travel Retail Category Head of Wines & Spirits, Perfume & Cosmetics Nandhini Srinivasan

Travel retail is full of family-run enterprises, one of which I am proud to lead. Another is One Red Kite, a fine UK agency and consultancy specialising in data management, recruitment, mystery shopping, store tour 3d and much more. In fact, the recruitment arm has just been split out as Recruit GTR headed by Jilly Brocklebank (centre) with husband Kevin (third from left) leading One Red Kite. Pictured from left are Dermot Davitt, me, Kevin, Jilly, Douglas Stuart and Louise (both One Red Kite) and The Moodie Davitt Report Editor-in-Chief Jenny Eagle.
Kevin Brocklebank has just published his own excellent book on travel retail that I find to be of considerable assistance in understanding the complexities of the channel. Available now on Amazon for £19.99. Worth every penny.
How nice to bump into four loyal readers of The Moodie Davitt Report from Bluebell in South Korea. Pictured left to right are Jackie Kim, Vice President Cosmetics Division; Julie Shin, General Manager Cosmetics 1 Division; Eve Na, General Manager Cosmetics 2 Division; and Bora Lim, Business Manager for Perfume Loewe and Maison Francis Kurkdjian
Surely the most human image of the week as Women in Travel Retail took time out to honour one of their staunchest members, Erin Lillis, Travel Retail Director Asia Pacific at Lacoste. Erin is undergoing extensive cancer treatment in Hong Kong but will bounce back in her inimitable style, we know, when it is over.
Lights, camera, action: Working with Peter Marshall of Marshall Arts and TRunblocked, travel retail’s top filmmaker, I had the pleasure to interview Foreo Global Travel Retail Director Gary Leong on video. It’s a revealing interview focused on one of our industry’s hottest brands of recent years and featuring one of its most-driven executives. Look out for it in coming days.
Great to work with Peter Marshall again, the Steven Spielberg of travel retail. Did you get my good side Peter?
(Left) That’s a take; (Right) Gary and me with The Moodie Davitt Report Publisher Irene Revilla
And that’s the Luna 4, the highly anticipated release from Foreo’s Luna range. The new collection features the latest skin cleansing innovations and comprises the Luna 4, Luna 4 Body and Luna 4 Go.

Before all the hard work of show week, the Foreo team gathers for TFWA cocktails at Carlton Beach on the opening evening {Picture: Gary Leong}
I guess that’s why they call it the blues: Gatwick Airport Interim Retail Director Pam McCarthy (right, ex-Dubai Airports and Heathrow Airport) with her colleague Lead – Retail New Business Helen Teschauer and I had the chance for a brief catch-up outside the Palais. But it was a lot briefer than we had planned. “I’ll meet you outside the Palais at 16.10,” said Pam. “I’ve a blue dress on so you can recognise me.” Both of us were there on time, albeit 50 metres apart, Pam thinking she had been stood up. Me? You guessed it. Chatting away to a bemused woman in a blue dress. Who turned out not to be running retail at Gatwick Airport but was impressed that I knew so much about it…
Another catch-up with a fine airport retail leader. Heidi Köpple is Head Commercial Centers at Zurich Airport, one of my favourite airports for both shopping and food & beverage. Retail and dining turnover reached CHF49.1 million (US$49.1 million) in September, a rise of +46.4% year-on-year. Encouragingly, the figure represented around 93% of September 2019 turnover.
Was this the best stand in Cannes? What a fantastic ambience Jameson offered visitors. Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail Chairman & CEO Mohit Lal, pictured forefront below with his team, was understandably delighted with the resultant engagement
{Photo: Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail}
Now this was a nice moment. At the splendid Groupe L’OCCITANE stand I caught up with a long-time industry friend, the company’s recently appointed Group Managing Director, Laurent Marteau. With him was my fellow Hong Konger Estelle de Bure, who was deservedly promoted to Managing Director, Global Travel Retail in July. Laurent has always been a passionate champion of travel retail so this outstanding brand is in great hands in the channel as you will see from my forthcoming interview with Laurent and Estelle.
What a pleasure to talk with Shiseido Travel Retail President & CEO Philippe Lesné and Shiseido Travel Retail Vice President, Strategic Marketing Siv Chao who presented me with a fascinating joint insight to the Japanese beauty group’s 150th anniversary celebrations and its exciting digital transformation programme. The interview came almost precisely six and a half years after Shiseido created a unified travel retail division for its cosmetics and fragrances business on 1 May, 2016, the subject of an exclusive interview (pictured below) a few weeks earlier that I still remember fondly. The travel retail division has come a long way since, constantly impressing with its commitment to the channel and its relentless innovation programme. I am not sure I have aged quite as well.

The expansive Shiseido stand featured a 150th anniversary wall and a stylish brand alcove
You just know Cannes is back with a bang when two of the long-time highlights of the show return. The first was L’Oréal Travel Retail’s traditional Monday night dinner; the second the same company’s traditional media conference, to me one of the most open, insightful and stimulating press events of the year.
The superb dinner event was graciously hosted by L’Oréal Travel Retail President and Member of the Executive Committee Vincent Boinay  and his great team at the magnificent La Villa Domergue

A lighter moment as L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia Pacific Managing Director Tao Zhang takes the stage {Photo: L’Oréal Travel Retail}
As always the evening attracted a who’s who of travel retail clients, all bound by a collective sense of purpose to drive the industry recovery. That spirit was neatly encapsulated by the evening’s theme L’Oréal Travel Retail TogetheR. {Photo: L’Oréal Travel Retail}
{Photo: L’Oréal Travel Retail}
I was delighted to catch up with Tao Zhang for the first time in person since she assumed her Asia Pacific leadership role late last year
Great to see the Ever Rich Duty Free and Tasa Meng leadership in Cannes after the recent easing of travel restrictions in Taiwan

With DFS Chairman & CEO Benjamin Vuchot and Ever Rich Duty Free President Kevin Chiang
Catching up with Gebr. Heinemann Co-CEO Max Heinemann and Aer Rianta International Chief Commercial Officer & Deputy CEO Anthony Kenny
Lotte Duty Free CEO Kap Lee, pictured with Max Heinemann, was another VIP guest
With L’Oréal Travel Retail EMEAI Area Manager Rémi Cristol (second right); and Lagardère Travel Retail Middle East CEO Dr. Munif Mohammed (second left), Beauty Category Manager – Middle East Shannon Pye (centre) and Commercial Director – Middle East Jacqui Davies
Vincent Boinay was back and in dynamic form at the press conference on Wednesday morning. See our report here.

Those attending The Trinity Forum in Singapore (1-2 November) may get a closer look at ‘Unicornasaurus Rex’, a fierce looking but ultimately friendly creature now taking flight once more
I caught up with two great travel retail veterans, René Dafflon (centre) the long-time head of what was then the world’s second-biggest duty free retailer, The Nuance Group, and Michel Mignot, a renowned figure in the travel retail beauty sector who spent over 40 years with Dior and Chanel. Fortunately all that experience is not going to waste. Both men are driving the success of psc development, a Swiss company which supports investors and entrepreneurs in curating and executing new concepts with a particular focus on duty free. Click here for our recent story on Mountain Glory [峰尚荣耀], a hugely exciting retail proposition that is targeting surging interest among Chinese consumers in winter/summer and alpine sports, a dynamic spurred by the successful Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics held earlier this year.
What a wonderful, understated restaurant L’éponyme in Rue de Bône is, an excellent foodie venue to catch up with IPP Travel Retail CEO Phillip Nguyen and his delightful fiancee Linh (below) in Cannes. Great food, wine and company. Watch this space, Vietnam travel retail is on fire and IPP Travel Retail is playing an integral role in turning up the heat.

Purple but not marooned: On the eve of the Cannes show, FILTR and QINGWA – arguably travel retail’s leading marketing, design and communication agency – revealed its new brand Purple. Co-owner Alex Cook (left) is pictured here with Communications Director James Brown on a strip of TFWA carpet perfectly hued for the occasion

I had the pleasure to address an excellent (and packed) Mondelēz International World Travel Retail session. This saw the unveiling of a renewed category vision focused on driving greater penetration and accelerated conversion to deliver confectionery market growth.

(Above and below) iClick Interactive from China released their brilliantly insightful Chinese Travel Shoppers 2022 White Paper during a special workshop on the final day of Cannes. I was proud to present an overview of how China sits within the global travel retail ecosystem.

Remi Brabant (Rémy Cointreau Area Director GTR – Africa, Middle-East, India) meets Martin Moodie = Remi Martin

Time for an end of show glass of wine with Aer Rianta International-Middle East CEO Rob Marriot and Lagardère Travel Retail Middle East Commercial Director Jacqui Davies courtesy of Accolade Wines. The company’s stand was packed all week, a double affirmation of the quality of wine on offer and the category’s growing stature in travel retail.
As I watched this duo perusing the media publications at the show, I just couldn’t help complimenting them on their ultimate choice. Fernando Sáinz de la Maza is CEO & Managing Director at Altimex in Barcelona, Spain and Raquel Anton Purchasing Manager Perfumery & Accessories. Altimex was created at the beginning of 2010 by Werner Mühlemann, formerly of Provimar (Weitnauer Group, now Dufry). Today Altimex is a leading maritime sector wholesaler for the duty free business, serving all Mediterranean ports.
And it really does work: Enni Zhao is National Account and Branding Manager for This Works, a fast-growing wellness brand that is all about the science of sleep. It is represented in travel retail by TR Partners in Ireland, whose Founder and Managing Director Vincent McDermott is pictured here with Enni and me on his stand. You can read an exceptional interview with This Works CEO Dr. Anna Persaud here. Disclaimer: A long-time insomniac due to a combination of stress and non-stop ideas revolving in my head, I have tried the brand’s Deep Sleep Pillow Spray since returning from Cannes with remarkable results. But could it change the around the clock habits of ‘the website that never sleeps’? Not a chance.
“When we accept difficult tasks as a challenge and meet them with joy and enthusiasm, miracles can happen.” The words of Lindt & Sprungli Head of Division Global Duty Free Peter Zehnder (centre) sum up the beautiful ebullience of this photo posted on LinkedIn. “Enchant the World with Chocolate!” writes Peter. And Lindt continues to do precisely that. {Photo: Lindt Global Duty Free; Blaise Tasson}
Interviews with The SEVA Group Founder Severino Pušić are few and far between. In fact, I reckon I have done the only ones to date. But each has been a gem, including this informal chat filmed by Peter Marshall on the final day of the show, which we will publish in coming days. Severino is one of my favourite people in the business. Not a man who seeks or likes the limelight but one who deserves it for the way he has driven The SEVA Group from small beginnings to become a global force in travel retail.
With The SEVA Group Junior Operations Support Officer Vanna Pušić and Head Of Operations Mandy Lemmen-Derix
What a great shot on The SEVA Group stand of Gurkha International Sales Advisor Suhail Gunja and Organico Solutions (The SEVA Group) Managing Director Roger Jackson. As reported, Gurkha Cigars, huge in the Americas, is targeting expansion in travel retail and has appointed The SEVA Group to drive that ambition.

 

 

 

 

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