Moyra Race and Trupti Shah (UK watch buyer & UK luxury and fashion manager) are two women you definitely want in your address book, and not just because Race used to be a wine buyer and so has an excellent nose for a tipple. These two are in charge of shaping retail in one of the most coveted sectors in the industry – travel.
We all know that feeling, as we stroll through the airport killing time before a flight, when suddenly any sense of budget or restraint goes out of the window as we think we sniff a bargain blended with some holiday spirit. While Race and Shah are well aware of the captive audience under their control, they have nevertheless been working hard to improve the shopping experience and boost turnover in the process.
“When I joined World Duty Free Group [WDFG] three years ago my brief was to make the luxury category a more credible offering and pull it together as a single department,” explains Race. “Stansted was the first to set the bar quite high and we have since converted Glasgow, East Midlands and Newcastle, with many more on the way.”
That first coup at Stanstead offers an impressive 70m2 of watch retail within what is WDFG’s largest luxury fashion area, and Race notes it as her professional highlight of the past year. She says: “Not only have we created a great modern, spacious environment but we have invested in specialist staff and increased the level of training significantly.”
While the footfall is impressive, travel retail brings with it its own challenges – mainly the speed at which those customers pass through, but that is something that doesn’t slip under the radar of self-confessed perfectionist Shah. “It is very different to a domestic market and opportunities need to be exploited continuously to reach a captured audience who are passing through WDFG stores within a limited time frame,” she says.
So next time you’re one of those harried travellers suddenly sucked into an elegantly merchandised watch display, you’ll know just who’s responsible.