Frankfurt Airport Retail—a joint venture between the travel retailer Gebr. Heinemann and airport operator Fraport—has unveiled a futuristic-looking perfume and cosmetics shop that breaks out of the usual mold.
At just over 9,000 square feet, the beauty space in Terminal 1B, opened in mid-June, is big for an airport. It is also standalone, not mixed in with categories like spirits and tobacco, which is the norm. The buying team at Heinemann—where beauty accounted for 34% of €1.6 billion turnover in 2020—has kept its perfume range broad with almost 100 different brands, while carefully selecting around 30 brands to be personalized with their own furniture and design.
In a nod to sustainability, Britta Hoffmann, Heinemann’s Director Purchasing Perfume & Cosmetics, noted that new-generation furniture in the shop is modular so that it can be flexibly adapted to different requirements “and used again and again.”
Among the 30 personalized brands are international crowd-pullers like Biotherm, Kiehl’s, Tom Ford, NARS, and Gucci, as well as luxury skincare houses such as La Mer and La Prairie, and accessible home and body brand Rituals. Niche names like Acqua di Parma, Creed, Jo Malone, and Maison Francis Kurkdjian are present too. A spokesperson from Heinemann told BeautyMatter that many of the niche brands “are not listed in many duty-free shops, some of them for example only in Istanbul Airport” where Heinemann also operates on a very big scale.
At Frankfurt Airport, further novelty comes from LookLab, an experiential concept targeting younger-generation travelers that Heinemann first tested in Copenhagen Airport in 2018. This second incarnation offers on-trend brands like Anastasia Beverly Hills, Bare Minerals, By Terry, Pixi, and Urban Decay in a 270-square-foot space within the beauty area.
An LED installation with brand and product animations draws passengers to LookLab. As well as younger-interest brands, there is a bar where lipsticks can be tried on digitally, and a new category of small-sized products called “minis to fly.” As well as being practical, this concept may suit some younger travelers’ tighter budgets.
The new beauty store is in one of the most lucrative spots in the airport, at least during regular, non-pandemic times. Terminal 1B handles flights to and from a variety of destinations, but key for beauty sales are those going to Asia (China and India), Russia, Israel, Turkey, South America, and also the UK.
Located airside (after security), FAR has used large digital video screens on the exterior of the shop so that passengers—thin on the ground right now—can see it from a distance. The current campaign encourages onlookers to “Take your senses on a journey.”
Commenting on the store overall, FAR Managing Director Georg Fuhrmann said, “The perfume and cosmetics product group is presented on a new scale here. We are offering international travelers—whose numbers are growing strongly again—a shop concept in a class of its own.”
How strongly is debatable. Last year Frankfurt Airport carried 18.8 million passengers, down 73% from 70.6 million in 2019, marginally worse than the declines in other top Western European hubs. This year, so far, there has been an improvement with a 59% year-on-year fall from January to May. Some 4.7 million people have been transported so far, and May alone accounted for 1.2 million of them, up 357%. That, however, does not mean much because last year’s May traffic was so low.
While there is still some way to go on footfall, it is a start. The novel beauty space now in place may also help to elevate per-passenger spending, which would help to offset the lack of overall travelers that still affects international airports worldwide.
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