SWITZERLAND. Lindt brand ambassador Roger Federer cut the traditional red ribbon to officially open Lindt & Sprüngli’s flagship chocolate location in global travel retail at Zürich Airport on Friday.

The renovated 130sq m boutique – jointly operated by Lindt & Sprüngli Travel Retail and Dufry in collaboration with the airport operator Flughafen Zürich – is a step change from its predecessor, even though it remains the same size. “It is an excellent example of a truly successful Trinity partnership,” said Lindt & Sprüngli Global Duty Free Head Peter Zehnder.

Lindt brand ambassador Roger Federer declares the Lindt boutique officially open. Also pictured (from left) are: Dufry’s Eduardo Heusi, Stefan Gross from Flughafen Zürich; Lindt Maître Chocolatier Stefan Bruderer; Head of Lindt & Sprüngli Global Duty Free Peter Zehnder; and Member of the Lindt & Sprüngli Management Board Alain Germiquet. Below is the inviting and open frontage of the revamped store. (Pictures: PPR/Lindt & Sprüngli)

Roger Federer and Lindt’s Master Chocolatier Stefan Bruderer are all set to try the new Lindor flavour: milk pistachio.

The Trinity aspect of the project was highlighted by the presence of top executives from each of the three companies. Speeches were made by Zehnder; Flughafen Zürich Chief Commercial Officer Stefan Gross; and Dufry Global Category Management Director – Alcohol, Tobacco, Confectionery, Food, Souvenirs & Toys Eduardo Heusi just before Federer inaugurated the store surrounded by adoring fans.

The Federer-Lindt partnership has been in place for a decade now and looks as strong as ever.

 Stopping power and interactivity

Located on Level 2 of the Airside Center at the Swiss hub, the Lindt boutique – originally opened in 2011 – has been carefully upgraded to be more impactful to passing passengers. Lindt is already the top selling duty free brand at Zürich Airport across all categories, generating significantly over CHF10 million (US$10 million) at the hub, The Moodie Davitt Report understands. The store changes are designed to maintain that lead, or even extend it.

Lindt’s signature Master Chocolatier station – the centrepiece of the shop – has been enlarged so customers can enjoy a comprehensive range of freshly-made chocolate prepared daily on-site by expert chocolate makers. These delicacies include chocolate figures, lollies, open bars and the exclusive Lindt Piemonte range, plus a new option to personalise bars.

What they said…

“This is a clear example of what a close relationship between airport, brand and retailer can achieve. Dufry is proud to have jointly developed and now operate this new Lindt & Sprüngli flagship store. It perfectly matches our strategy of offering travellers unique shopping experiences.” Dufry CEO Europe and Africa, Eugenio Andrades

“The retail and culinary offers in our Airside Center reflect our striving for excellence in products and services. This is why we are very happy about our partnership with Lindt & Sprüngli. They embody exactly the excellent quality and Swissness that is part of our passenger experience.” Flughafen Zürich Chief Commercial Officer Stefan Gross

“The Lindt store encompasses the key commercial components that passengers are looking for. It illustrates the great achievements we can deliver when collaborating closely with stakeholders and when sharing the same vision and goals for the passengers’ airport experience.” Dufry Global Head of Confectionery Philippe Moryl

“With freshly-handmade chocolate delicacies and a high level of personalisation and interactive experience with the brand, the boutique is a stunning evocation of the creative spirit of the Master Chocolatiers.” Lindt & Sprüngli Global Duty Free Head Peter Zehnder

Just before the opening, Lindt’s top Master Chocolatier Stefan Bruderer – who heads a team of 16 other masters – hosted an informative class in chocolate tasting. He explained the brand’s differentiating elements such as its special roasting and conching techniques, and ‘bean to bar’ focus.

As well as the on-site chocolate making, the store offers other travel-exclusive creations only available at this specific location complemented by a gifting station with a ribbon printer, message stickers and gift-wrap options to create bespoke chocolate gifts.

A second eye-catching focal point of the boutique is the so-called Pick n’ Mix Paradise that takes up the whole back wall. The vertical rainbow of colours, representing different Lindor flavours, makes for an arresting sight with gondolas in front also laden with the 18 varieties of Lindor available to buy.

A third differentiating factor is an interactive, speaking ‘Magical Selfie Mirror’ developed by Lindt & Sprüngli Travel Retail. The mirror gives shoppers the chance to engage with the brand and take selfies alongside – no surprises – Roger Federer, as well as other images and customisations. They can send the pictures digitally or print them.

A sharper Sense of Place

Zürich has been the home of Lindt & Sprüngli for almost 175 years so the brand’s presence at the airport automatically provides passengers with a Sense of Place. Lindt has moved a step further by expanding its travel retail-exclusive portfolio with a selection of Zürich-themed gifts.

A new Lindt Swiss Masterpieces Zürich Edition gift box and chocolate bar have been added to the Swiss Touristic range, along with a Swiss variant of the newly-launched Lindt Assorted Naps World Traveller Collection Tins. Zürich gift tags will also be available for Pick n’ Mix and other gift items.

About the store overall, Zehnder said: “We are very proud to have completed this impressive renovation with our partners, Airport Zürich and the Dufry team from Basel.” Zehnder also paid tribute to Federer – who hails from Basel – as “truly embodying the Swiss premium quality that is at the heart of our business”.

The colourful backwall is a strong attraction to passing passengers. [Pictures: Kevin Rozario]

Lindt’s Master Chocolatier station has been expanded to create added stopping power.

An ace serve: Roger Federer at the new, extended counter, preparing fresh chocolate delicacies with Lindt’s Master Chocolatier Stefan Bruderer. (PPR / Lindt & Sprüngli)

Peter Zehnder: “We believe the enlarged Master Chocolatier counter will have huge stopping power.”

Renovations expected to drive up sales

Speaking to The Moodie Davitt Report – the only travel retail media at the event – Zehnder was confident about prospects for the new boutique. “This is the first refurbishment since opening in 2011. We believe the enlarged Master Chocolatier counter will have huge stopping power, while the other features make the store very inviting.

“With all the changes, as well as the increasing passengers at Zürich Airport [the airport broke the 30 million barrier for the first time in 2018], we estimate we will have a sales increase, even though we already have high sales levels.”

Class act: Lindt’s top Master Chocolatier Stefan Bruderer gave journalists a short introduction to chocolate making and to chocolate tasting before the ribbon-cutting.

A chocolate lover’s dream: Lindor balls in 18 flavours are everywhere.

Asked about the travel retail channel’s value to the Lindt & Sprüngli Group, Zehnder said. “It is a window to the world where we can celebrate the brand in emerging markets such as India and elsewhere in Asia where the Lindt brand is not yet as well developed as in Europe,” he said. “Travel retail is therefore an important touchpoint for potential customers.”

Lindt & Sprüngli Travel Retail has seen higher growth in its emerging markets business than developed markets such as Europe. A similar picture was seen in the 2018 group performance. Last month, Lindt & Sprüngli reported good sales growth for 2018, up 5.1% (organic) to reach CHF4.31 billion (US$4.31 billion), with Europe rising 5.6%, North America growing 2.8% and the third region – the ‘rest of the world’ segment – providing a double-digit surge of 10.3%.

In many ways the refreshed boutique at Zürich Airport is testament not just to a finely-tuned Trinity partnership, but to Lindt & Sprüngli’s belief in the future of premium chocolate globally – helped by higher GDP growth in many emerging markets that is fuelling consumer interest in high-end confectionery. At an international hub like Zürich Airport, Lindt can serve – and learn from – customers both from new and mature markets in its most inviting space yet.