Rome Fiumicino’s new €390 million Pier E, with the ‘Piazza del Made in Italy’, is claimed to “set a new retail benchmark” with an offering in both the fashion-luxury sector and food & beverage that is definitively Italian. Ugo de Carolis, CEO Aeroporti di Roma, shared some insights with Ross Falconer ahead of his address at the ACI EUROPE Airport Commercial & Retail Conference & Exhibition.
The first impression of the commercial offer in Rome Fiumicino’s new €390 million Pier E is that it is intrinsically Italian. At its heart is a 10,000sqm shopping mall, the ‘Piazza del Made in Italy’, which reflects the city’s status as a cosmopolitan capital of fashion. Major luxury fashion houses Valentino and Bulgari, both headquartered in Rome, are just two of the myriad ‘Made in Italy’ premium brands present in the new pier.
The hallmark of the new retail area is the fashion-luxury range of 40 outlets, combining the best of Italian and international brands. “Made in Italy is almost the key brand of our commercial range,” says Ugo de Carolis, CEO Aeroporti di Roma. “The new boarding area testifies, with its state-of-the-art structure, to the excellence of ‘Italian-ness’. Among the areas dedicated to the luxury category, there are 25 major Italian fashion brands.”
This local flavour is mirrored in the 3,000sqm food & beverage offer, featuring an ‘Italian Food Street’. The diverse formats and price-points from Areas, Autogrill, Lagardère, and Chef Express, include Italian and Mediterranean offers prepared by, among others, Michelin-starred chef Heinz Beck with his ‘Attimi’ restaurant, as well as Asian dishes and gourmet burgers.
Meanwhile, de Carolis enthuses about the 1,800sqm walk-through store operated by Lagardère under the Aelia Duty Free brand, with comprehensive offers in core categories such as fragrances, cosmetics, and wines & spirits. “Passengers pass through the store surrounded by corners for testing the available products. This is where travellers departing for extra-Schengen destinations can spend quality time and make use of the amenities and services before boarding.”
The ambition was a diversified, high-level range appealing to all passengers. Brands like Montblanc, Piquadro, Paper Store, and Unieuro were selected to appeal to business travellers, while Benetton and Swatch, for example, are more targeted towards leisure travellers. Among the more progressive elements is the personal shopper service, which has been very well received. Dedicated staff communicate with travellers in Italian, English, and Mandarin Chinese.
A new benchmark in luxury retail
€2 billion of further infrastructure work is planned at Rome Fiumicino over the next five years, including the new Pier A. This investment is being made against the backdrop of record traffic – 41.7 million passengers were handled in 2016 (+3.2%).
Commercial revenues reached €500 million last year. The accessories category was a star performer, growing by 20% year-on-year, with Italian brands Furla and Coccinelle a key contributor. “Specifically, with reference to the luxury goods sector (+10% compared with 2015), the average spend-per-passenger at Rome Fiumicino amounted to over €500,” de Carolis explains. “Leading the luxury sector are numerous ‘Made in Italy’ brands represented in all product categories – from Bottega Veneta to Gucci, from Valentino to Prada, and from Tod’s to Bulgari. These brands are particularly attractive to Chinese, Korean and Japanese extra-Schengen passengers.”
The new Pier E arguably sets a new benchmark in terms of luxury retail, combining a unique Italian offer with major international brands. “So far, we have received many positive comments and compliments for our quality of services,” de Carolis concludes.