Travel essentials reinvented

Relay, Lagardere Travel Retail North America

The brief

Relay airport newsstands were facing strong headwinds in North America, with sales hurt by the decline of reading materials. Relay asked us to assess the situation.

Our approach

We brought back “travel” in travel retail, and combined a classical retail analysis with specific travel trends. We engaged in market research and facilitated internal workshops to update and sharpen Relay’s value proposition to travelers, as well as exploring innovative concepts. When Toronto Airport issued a tender for the operations of newsstands, Lagardère Travel Retail launched a RFP to help them with the design of the future newsstands that we won. We redefined the roles of each store based on their location in the airport, and created a modular design that is visually appealing (the store became the media, in a shortcut of the brand history), and allows to adapt the in-store experience to specific contexts. Lagardère won the hard-fought RFP and the new concept generated vastly increased sales per square foot (200 to 300% depending on locations), allowing an increase in sales in spite of a decrease in surface area.

The concept won numerous awards by professionals and travelers (including USA Today Best Airport Newsstand in 2017) and became a design landmark that inspired ensuing developments in major US and Canadian airports.


The new Relay flagship combines slow and fast shopping areas with different product offerings to cater different needs. The design echoes the roots of the brand (a publisher) and provides a sense of place. From an operations standpoint, all fixtures can be rearranged and re-signaged overnight, and the check-out process has been entirely redesigned (including the redesign of the queuing experience, rationalization of cross-sell options, and articulation with mobile check-out by roaming agents).


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