November 21st, 2019

Bringing Abu Dhabi to the world “by creating the ultimate duty free experience”

An interview with Vadim Motlik, CEO of Lagardère Capital, the joint venture between Lagardère Travel Retail and Abu Dhabi Capital Group. By Ross Falconer

Travellers experiencing the new Midfield Terminal Building at Abu Dhabi International Airport can look forward to a retail proposition that truly reflects the essence of Abu Dhabi – the combination of a rich heritage and an exciting modern future.

Lagardère Capital, a joint venture between Lagardère Travel Retail and Abu Dhabi Capital Group, was chosen by Abu Dhabi Airports as a core duty free operator at the Midfield Terminal. “We are extremely proud to have been selected to operate the major part of the core duty free,” says Vadim Motlik, CEO Lagardère Capital. “By combining Lagardère Travel Retail’s expertise with the local knowledge of our JV partner, Abu Dhabi Capital Group, we were able to create a unique proposal that stood out in one of the most competitive tenders in recent years. It demonstrates our capability to create world-class programmes that enable us to partner with the best airports in the world.”

Lagardère Capital has developed four new concept stores for Abu Dhabi’s Midfield Terminal, which will leverage on the spectacular architecture of the terminal and are designed to be highly impactful.

“In one of these concepts, we intend to bring together the best international and local fine food in a luxury travel retail environment,” Motlik explains. “We will organise tastings and expand on the regional flavours of locally-produced dates, nuts, dried fruits, coffee and baklava. The Art of Regional Fine Food section will feature local date brands – where consumers will find dates infused with citrus, pistachios or nuts, dates coated with chocolate, and basically every kind of date imaginable. In the Art of Coffee and Biscuits section, we will have a selection of leading specialists in the region to offer intoxicating premium coffee aromas with the likes of Arabica, Robusta, French Coffee… with single origin and premium unique blends. Other dedicated areas will showcase best-sellers such as chocolates and other fine foods.”

Passengers will also discover the latest product ranges of international spirits, wines and cigars with dedicated spaces for connoisseurs. The Collection room will focus on prestigious liquors, while The Cigar Cellar will showcase premium and limited-edition cigars. A tasting bar will allow consumers to discover the heritage of a selection of liquors, while a permanent brand zone will immerse clients into the prestigious world of whisky.

“Our other new concepts are also developed to ensure delivery of a world-class customer experience in all product categories,” says Motlik. “We will combine our international product expertise with exclusive local brand partnerships and the Emirati sense of hospitality. What is more, we have also developed a supermarket concept with amazing deals and surprisingly affordable gifting ideas.”

“A multisensorial shopping experience”

Motlik explains that Lagardère Capital’s ambition is to “bring Abu Dhabi to the world, by creating the ultimate duty free experience”.

Travellers will be able to discover the essence of Abu Dhabi, experiencing the combination of its rich heritage and exciting modern future. “We aim to create a multisensorial shopping experience that is an extraordinary fusion of iconic brands, entertainment, technology and culture.”

The local flavour is primarily developed through the Fine Food offer, with the presence of key iconic local brands such as Bateel, Al Nassma and Vivel.

“To immerse them in a unique local experience, we will offer a series of services around generosity, helpfulness and attentiveness – key characteristics of Emirati hospitality,” Motlik explains. “Our annual marketing calendar will also celebrate seasonal events such as Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr, but also specific Abu Dhabi festivals, and movies, with tastings of local products, gifting and scenography in partnership with local brands.”

Lagardère Travel Retail has grown exponentially over the last three years in the Middle East, which is a strategic region for the operator. Looking ahead, Motlik adds that Lagardère remains “active and engaged to continue growing in this fascinating part of the world”.