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Two important background factors affected this performance. Firstly, the industry’s potential customer base continued to grow, and secondly, global economic activity strengthened in 2017, with global output estimated to have grown by 3.8%.
However, there is still a need for positive change in the industry, Juul-Mortensen continued. This is firstly because business prospects remain fragile. In addition, the pressures on the industry have arguably never been greater. In recent months, the potential damage of the airport business model’s heavy demands upon concession operators has been felt especially strongly in the Asia Pacific region.
Thirdly, said Mortensen, the industry’s value proposition remains under threat, as the growth of m- and e-commerce results in ever greater price transparency. Today, the duty free and travel retail business is embracing digital as the key driver enabling it to connect with customers seamlessly and continuously. New rules do not mean extinction of the kind of retail the industry is based on. In fact, evidence suggests that domestic retail is far more under threat, but the impact of m-commerce is dramatic and duty free and travel retail needs to quicken the pace of evolution and adapt more quickly to the new trading environment.