September 13th, 2022

1852 to 2022: Lagardère Travel Retail celebrates 170 years

Paris, 13 September 2022 – This year marks an historic milestone for Lagardère Travel Retail, as the group celebrates 170 years of service to travelers. From the very first bookstore Louis Hachette opened in Paris Gare de Lyon in 1852 to the global company it is today, with roots in over 40 markets and a long-standing expertise of operating retail, convenience and F&B, we have a rich history built on strong partnerships, values, and people’s excellence.

Lagardère Travel Retail has been pioneering Travel Retail for 170 years. Starting with a small bookstore opened in 1852 in Paris Gare de Lyon, by Louis Hachette, the group now operates nearly 5,000 Retail, Convenience and F&B outlets in over 40 markets.

Our 20,000 colleagues are dedicated to designing bespoke partnerships and holistic passenger experiences. We have thrived on our very unique culture of empowering local teams. This organizational model gives us access to an in-depth understanding of local markets and great levels of proximity and flexibility. This is also how we are now able to convey the best of local cultures and know-hows into the stores and support the local communities we serve. 

Lagardère Travel Retail’s 170-year journey in key dates:

  • 1852: Opening of a first bookstore at Paris Gare de Lyon railway station
  • 1958: Opening of the first Duty Free store, at Brussels airport
  • 1984: Invention of the ‘Red shop’, a modern convenience concept and the ancestor of Relay
  • 1985: Opening of the first Food & Beverage operations in French hospitals
  • 2000: Roll-out of Relay as a global Travel Essentials brand
  • 2001: Launch of the Aelia Duty Free international brand
  • 2014: Acquisition of Retail and F&B player Airest, also operating across all segments of activity
  • 2015: Acquisition of Paradies, followed three years later by HBF and Vino Volo in North America
  • 2022: Opening of the very first Aelia Duty Free eco-responsible store at Geneva airport, and acquisition of HWH F&B operations in the Middle East

During our history, the company has changed many times. It has faced challenges but every time we have overcome them to come back stronger. Lagardère Travel Retail is proud to rely on strong foundations and its long-standing strategic focus to succeed in today’s environment. The most local of global players, we create bespoke partnerships to adapt to individual needs, we capture the vibrant cultures of the communities we serve to make each travel location unique, we have organized ourselves to maximize our growth potential and we have an ambition to lead the industry in sustainability.

At a time when travel and travelers are changing, and market dynamics are shifting, we look forward to building on our vast experience to respond to emerging challenges and opportunities and to serving the needs of partners and travelers for many more years. We are also on a journey to contribute to making travel more responsible, and to deliver world-class customer experiences.

Commenting on this milestone moment, Dag Rasmussen, Chairman & CEO, Lagardère Travel Retail, said: “I feel very privileged to be celebrating this historic milestone with our 20,000 colleagues globally. Our incredibly rich and diverse history is difficult to sum up but I believe our sense of purpose and the passion we have to serve our customers have been immutable forces all along. Lagardère Travel Retail’s journey has been one of change, and improvement. Every challenge we have faced, every market shift we have responded to, has been an opportunity for us to learn and grow. I hope all our people and partners can join us in celebrating quite a unique moment and share this sense of excitement to continue this journey with us.”