New Retail Concept Shows the Way Forward for Travel Retail

May 3, 2021

While travel retail continues to take a hit from the pandemic, there are companies exploring new ways forward. The week of April 25, Swedish travel retailer R&F Travel Retail, a company owned by Stena Line, opened a new store at Cologne Bonn Airport.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to affect many industries, there can be little doubt that few sectors have been hit quite as hard at the global travel retail industry. Swedish travel retail company R&F Travel Retail, an affiliated company to Stena Line - one of the largest ferry operators in the world, has gone a different route and have instead chosen to expand in the middle of the pandemic. The week of April 25, the company opened up their very first shop at Cologne Bonn Airport.

“It’s of course a very humbling experience to start a new shop during these unprecedented times but we are very happy and proud to be able to introduce a new retail direction in great co-operation with Cologne Bonn Airport,” said Jari Virtanen, interim CEO at R&F Travel Retail.

While the shop at Cologne Bonn Airport sells traditional travel retail products such as duty paid spirits, perfume and confectionary, it also offers a new concept to make airport shopping fun and exciting again. With the customer in focus, new ways of merchandising and affordable prices, R&F aims to move away from the traditional airport shop concept. Instead, the idea is to constantly renew the assortment and product display to always offer the customer something new.

Everything from the shop layout to the interior design has been created in-house by R&F. While the concept has been created for the specific shop at Cologne Bonn Airport, R&F Travel Retail hopes to take their concept further in the future.

“We are preparing for a time after the pandemic and can see this concept working for other airports or travel retail shops. Hopefully, this is the first step in an international expansion for both R&F and Stena Line,” said Virtanen.