Pernod Ricard India and Mumbai Duty Free open Luxe Boutique

INDIA. Pernod Ricard India and Mumbai Duty Free (a joint venture between DFS Group and Flemingo) opened the first ever Luxe Boutique in travel retail on Thursday at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Terminal 2.

The striking 550sq ft spirits & wines store sits in a prominent space within T2 Departures and houses a broad portfolio of Pernod Ricard’s premium and rare collections under one roof. These include its key blended Scotch brands, single malts, Martell Cognac and Absolut vodka, as well as wines & Champagnes.

The Moodie Report was the only media invited to the launch, and President Dermot Davitt was honoured to officiate in the inauguration alongside DFS Group Senior Vice President Spirits, Wines and Tobacco Brooke Supernaw.

Luxe Boutique: A new statement of prestige for spirits & wines in Indian travel retail

Featuring over 40 SKUs, the premium selection available at the Luxe Boutique includes Royal Salute 62 Gun Salute, Chivas Regal 25yo, Ballantine’s 30yo, The Glenlivet 25yo, Ballantine’s 17yo, Royal Salute 38yo, Absolut Elyx, G.H. Mumm Champagne and Brancott Estate wines.

Among the highlights are rare whiskies like Chivas Regal Icon, priced at US$3,500. Out of the limited collection available worldwide, two bottles were made available in India at the Luxe Boutique (and have already been sold).

Opening the doors to a new experience: DFS Group Senior Vice President Spirits, Wines and Tobacco Brooke Supernaw and The Moodie Report President Dermot Davitt officially open the store on Thursday, accompanied by senior executives from DFS, Flemingo, Pernod Ricard India and airport company GVK

Pernod Ricard India Business Head – International Brands Kartik Mohindra said: “We are proud to present our first exclusive luxury retailing experience – the Luxe Boutique store – here in India. Indian consumers are increasingly adopting luxury wines and spirits and this unique boutique will provide an exclusive yet intimate brand experience across our entire portfolio. A joint initiative with Mumbai Duty Free, we are sure travellers and shoppers will enjoy a truly luxurious experience with our brands.”

The key themes, according to the partners, are “innovation, authenticity and diversity”. Designed to reflect a sense of “fluid architecture”, the boutique has a large and eye-catching illuminated droplet-shaped centrepiece. The gently waved back walls on which the brands rest add to the upscale environment. The boutique also houses a digital Interactive area created for shoppers to learn more about the brands: they can place a bottle on the interactive screen and learn more about the expression, delivered through RFID technology.

Interactivity is a key feature, with a digital area created for shoppers to learn more about the brands
Alongside new and exclusive Scotch references, the partners are seeking to build awareness of Cognac, white spirits and wine & Champagne through the brand showcases

“Here at Mumbai Duty Free, we continuously aim to bring our customers the best in travel retail and are thrilled to partner with Pernod Ricard to unveil the world’s first Luxe Boutique right here at Mumbai International Airport,” said Mumbai Duty Free Managing Director Manishi Sanwal. “From the luxury product offering to the interactive, digital shopping experience, we’re confident travellers will love this new addition to our footprint. We look forward to working with Pernod Ricard on more exciting customer experiences at the Luxe Boutique going forward.”

Sanwal later told The Moodie Report: “We have a diverse mix of passengers with different expectations and we need to cater to them all. On the one hand we need to lift average transaction values among existing shoppers; on the other our challenge is to ensure there is something for the mass of passengers who don’t spend at all.

“This boutique helps with the first of these aims builds our luxury presence and is a good opportunity to appeal to the knowledgeable consumer base of business consumers from Bombay and elsewhere. It helps us move people beyond their traditional favoured brands to experiment with something new. The keys will be delivering great service and a great experience.”

The value for money message remains a key one for the Indian traveller even in the merchandising of luxury items

Flemingo CEO Atul Ahuja told The Moodie Report that the store opening and the wider quality of the Mumbai Duty Free operation was a “game changer” for Indian travel retail. “We just sold two bottles of Chivas Regal Icon and are now out of our allocation for the year. That tells you something about the passenger that is coming through Mumbai. We want to tempt these passengers and to upgrade these buyers to new and interesting things. But there is also something for everybody in the store.

“As Flemingo, we have expansion happening in many other airports in India under our newly won contracts. You will see such specialisation and investment at our other locations too.”

Kartik Mohindra told us: “There is a lot of latent potential in the wider portfolio, and we wanted to create a space that would showcase that on the journey. DFS and Flemingo shared our vision. We are seeing more experimentation in the Indian market and we’re seeing more participation from female consumers in spirits and wines purchasing. This showcase opens up new opportunities.”

Red letter day: The Mumbai Duty Free and Pernod Ricard India teams are joined by senior executives from GVK at the store
Marking the occasion were (l-r) Pernod Ricard India Business Head – International Brands Kartik Mohindra, DFS Merchandise Manager Spirits Randy Wong, DFS Group Senior Vice President Spirits, Wines and Tobacco Brooke Supernaw, The Moodie Report President Dermot Davitt, Mumbai Duty Free Managing Director Manishi Sanwal and Pernod Ricard India Head Travel Retail Rustom Framji

Brooke Supernaw told The Moodie Report: “It’s very experiential, educational and interactive. The consumer is changing and they’re requesting more in terms of the experience. We’re trying to deliver that, especially in Departures at Mumbai where we have the dwell time and the opportunity to engage with travellers through a 100% walk-through store. That means you can tempt them to pause and experience. We plan to do more of this in the airports in which we operate.”

She added: “This is a first of its type for DFS and is a new departure. We have shop-in-shops in locations such as Changi and Hong Kong, but those are either for individual brands or brands within the same category. This cross-category approach is something new.”

The retailer and brand owner will leverage the power of the Chivas Regal brand to attract passengers into other expressions from the same family, but there is a big opportunity for single malts, Cognacs and even vodka.

While The Glenlivet leads the market in malts in India, also on display in a dedicated malts section are Aberlour, Longmorn, Scapa and Strathisla.

Supernaw said: “The business here is predominantly blended Scotch with growth also in single malts, so it’s a challenge to encourage more people to examine Cognac or white spirits or wine. But if you look at who will be travelling in the future, there will be more influence from a younger generation that is willing to experiment, and this offers us more cross-category opportunity. The emerging Millennial traveller is a different market that demands a different approach, but that is the whole idea of the Luxe Boutique – delivering an immersive cross-category experience not only in spirits but into wine and Champagne.”

Journey of discovery: Brooke Supernaw, Dermot Davitt and DFS Merchandise Manager Spirits Randy Wong (left) take a tour of the new store courtesy of Pernod Ricard Scotch Brand Ambassador James Arney

On the future of boutique formats for wines & spirits, she noted: “We have the space here for this kind of approach, which is an advantage, but format is about trying new things too. We can’t stand still in duty free, with traditional store formats that just present whisky, Cognac and other categories in the same way as we have always done.

“We need to innovate and bring freshness to the business. We need to create disruption on the floor that stops the customer’s journey. Everything is about driving footfall and if you can move that needle by 1% or 2%, then the sales opportunities it presents are significant. As a passing traveller you may not know what Luxe Boutique means but it will entice you to stop and enter. So as we look at future strategies, and we look at different profiles of consumers, this specialised, personalised approach will have a part to play.”

The store is one way in which Mumbai Duty Free is “changing the game” according to Flemingo CEO Atul Ahuja

*We’ll bring you more images, comment and reaction about the Luxe Boutique development very soon from Mumbai Duty Free and Pernod Ricard India. Watch out too for a full on location report on Mumbai Duty Free’s impressive T2 business and a review of the latest commercial developments at the airport plus interviews with the senior commercial team at Mumbai International Airport Ltd.

Food & Beverage The Magazine eZine