“Our customers want to experience memorable shopping while en route to business and holiday destinations. More than ever before, they want to bridge waiting times at the airport to indulge in some shopping. At the same time, they have become more demanding, as they are looking for both local products and internationally recognised luxury brands. The retail shop at the airport has emerged as an excellent point of sale for many brands to showcase their products and provide a fine selection of their portfolio,” says Daniele Gregorio, who has been Country Commercial Manager of Dufrital S.p.a. since 2015 and has worked for Dufry since 2005.
He appreciates the dynamics included in his daily tasks. “The whole industry is constantly on the move and every day there’s something new to discover,” he says. Mr. Gregorio is responsible for the company’s development, its investments and categories, including its category managers who take on the purchase of various product categories on offer at airports and other locations such as railway stations. “We closely look at each location in order to put together the best assortment available. This varies from one airport to the other, depending on the types of travellers and carriers,” says Mr. Gregorio.
Today the parent company Dufry is a force to reckon with. It is, in fact, the largest travel retailer worldwide, operating 2,000 shops at 276 airports in 65 countries on all six continents. In Italy, its subsidiary Dufrital is responsible for shops at the airports Linate and Malpensa in Milan as well as at the airports of Bergamo, Genoa, Verona, Florence, Pisa and Naples.
“These airports see different customers and we adjust our assortment accordingly. The number and the quality of customers plays an essential role in our strategy,” explains Mr. Gregorio. “We track down customer behaviour at our shops and fine-tune our portfolio in order to match the customers’ expectations. Therefore, our shops do not offer identical items.”
We are present in 65 countries, operating 2,200 stores. Daniele GregorioCountry Commercial Manager
Dufry has long-standing experience in travel retail, going back to its foundation in Switzerland in 1865. It opened its first duty-free shop in Paris in 1952, at a time when flying was considered an expensive means of transport for the chosen few.
Even back then, the company sold perfume, liqueur, tobacco and chocolate. An important date in its corporate history was the year 2005 which saw its successful stock market entry. In 2008, Dufry acquired 100% of the American Hudson Group, the only newsstand brand in the industry and market leader in the USA. Various acquisitions in the years that followed have contributed to Dufry’s position as global market leader with a 20% share in the total travel retail market.
“Travel retailing is a highly dynamic business, both with regard to travellers and suppliers,” stresses Mr. Gregorio. “We identify two types of travellers. While the long-distance traveller is looking for luxury brands, the low-cost flyer prefers a good bargain and good prices. More and more, airport retailing is regarded as an extension of the city centre. Brands aim to be present here as well as in the most prestigious shopping areas in town. However, in many cases, profitability per m2 is higher here compared to the city centre, and this explains why brands aim to enter the travel retail sector.”
While the portfolio of former days is still sold in the airport shops, new products have found their way onto the stores’ shelves. Today, Dufrital also offers souvenirs, toys and travel products and electronics. Dufry, and Dufrital respectively, select suppliers according to their portfolio and their ability to provide products with the right packaging, and the group closely cooperates with local suppliers. A strong future focus will be on new retail concepts, featuring the use of digital applications to facilitate the shopping experience for the customer and to increase sales.