Since its founding in 1868, umdasch The Store Makers, a family-owned business of four generations has remained focused on classic values of corporate sustainability: reliability, trust, responsibility. Now with 1,500 employees from over 25 nations, umdasch utilises its innovative spirit and craftsmanship, to provide exceptional shopfitting solutions worldwide. To find out just how umdasch are succeeding, RLI talked to Roman Fussthaler, Managing Director of Premium Retail.

Having successfully integrated two companies into umdasch The Store Makers over the last few months, acquired a turnover of more than €250M (estimation 2018) and celebrated its 150th year in business as an international powerhouse, umdasch shared with us their highlights of the year that has paved the way for success.

The Global RLI Awards in Los Angeles, California celebrated some of the best retail designs and shopfitting worldwide in the last year. Representing umdasch, Roman Fussthaler flew over to accept an award for Interior Excellence for umdasch´s part in the successful renovation of the “Harrods Wine & Spirits”, London; just one of the many projects umdasch are currently working on with Harrods. umdasch plans to push the boundaries in 2019. This year holds even more exciting developments, not just in premium retail, but also in travel retail. “Travel Retail has always been a strong sector for the Store Makers. Recently we have been equipping clients in this sector with the tools to stay relevant and innovative with their store concepts in an ever increasingly competitive market. Gone are the days when all duty-frees looked the same”, Roman Fussthaler says.

With air travel at an all-time high; airports around the world must consider all travellers as potential shoppers, especially because travel retail now accounts for 40 per cent of global sales at airports. Although this seems like an impressive amount, statistics show that even though the number of travellers is on the rise, the proportional number of travel retail shoppers is not. Airports are increasingly being required to think outside the box and come up with diverse and brilliant concepts to surprise shoppers and inspire them to spend more time and capital in duty frees. Indeed, airports are aware of this need but how many are rising to the challenge, standing out from the crowd and enticing more travellers?

With a successful duty-free realised in Munich Airport and the creation of the retail area on the Queen Elizabeth II ship for Dubai Duty Free, 2018 was a triumph for umdasch Travel Retail, supporting not just airports in adapting to market demands but also branching into ships and cruise liners.

“This rising segment is a challenging one with specific regulations and very individual and unique requests. The Queen Elizabeth II ship for example is a British national treasure docked in Dubai. These two cultures though very different, make for a unique design concept and requirements, just what umdasch specialises in,” explains Fussthaler.

umdasch started 2019 with a bang! Helsinki Duty Free was realised in March, changing both the atmosphere of the store and the layout to encourage a better flow of travellers passing through. Airports are realising that travellers don’t just want a place to shop, they want memorable experiences and inspiration. Helsinki offers a toy area where the children can play with the items purchasable. Customers also want to continue their travel experience in the shop, they want to see the culture and novelties of the country they’re visiting reflected in the stores. Helsinki Duty Free now has flooring resembling the wooden cladding seen on Nordic housing and a shelving unit in the form of a sled.

“Thinking even further outside the box, in collaboration with our client´s design ideas we created an ingenious new concept for a miniature, mobile shop named the Retail Cart. The issue of going through security and into the gate at the airport and realising that there is nowhere to buy those last minute gifts, food and drink are issues that most have frustratingly experienced. This Retail Cart brings those items to you in a miniature airplane. Other shapes are being created for other airports, such as a suitcase to keep your boredom in check while waiting for the airport at bay,” says Fussthaler.

Coming up soon this year are the Cruise Ship Terminals in Barcelona. The two terminals are currently underway in a total redesign of the concept. The stores inside needed a revamp to better entice travellers. Increasingly we are seeing that terminals and duty-frees require a reconfiguration of the layout to increase flow across the stores, thus increasing time and spending in store. “The new design focused on the customer experience, bringing the warmth and rich culture of Barcelona and its markets into the port,” concludes Fussthaler.

The Global RLI Awards 2019 - Interior Excellence 2019